Bad news for Maserati. Its global sales recorded a big drop during the first quarter after dealing with lower demand for its key product, the Levante. In the year when it was expected to sell 75.000 units (according to 2014 plan), Maserati struggles to keep its profitability and its feasibility as a premium brand.
The initial boost to profits suddenly stopped in the second half of last year, when the beautiful Levante stopped climbing in the luxury rankings. This SUV was introduced in 2016 with a very positive impact on Maserati’s global sales. However, it couldn’t manage to keep the strong growth pace as it anticipated its decline phase of its commercial life. It is not usual to see big monthly sales declines posted by relatively new cars.
But the bad product planning, poor infotainment and the lack of alternative-fuelled versions explain the bad situation of the Levante. This model counted for half of Maserati’s global sales in 2017 and now is responsible for the decline of its profits, following the Q1-18 results in which adjusted EBIT fell by 20%. Nevertheless, the company was able to keep the profit margin at 11,4%.
In 2017 Maserati sold around 45.000 units around the world, up by 4,7%. While the Ghibli and Quattroporte recorded double-digit falls, the Levante almost doubled its sales by jumping from 11.500 units in 2016 to 22.500 last year. Hence, the Levante was crucial to keep the growth pace in 2017. But not enough, as Q1-18 results confirm.
The brand needs more products and especially more SUVs. Hence, the imminent arrival of the midsize SUV within a year. Known as Levantina, this new Maserati is the most important project right now in FCA, and is expected to boost the brand’s operations globally. The problem is that the brand will have to wait at least one more year for the Levantina, and there’s no evidence of big updates for the rest of its current range.
Last year results
Maserati was one of the five brands of the group with positive results in 2017. Its global sales were positively affected by the Levante, which offset the drops posted by the Ghibli and Quattroporte. Sales increased in North America and EMEA but fell in Asia, where Maserati sells most of its cars.
China was the largest market with 14.500 units, down by 17% mostly because of the big drops posted by the Ghibli (-30%) and Quattroporte (-41%). It wasn’t the case in USA where the brand sold 14.000 vehicles, of which 5.800 were Ghibli (-22%), 5.500 were Levante (+189%) and 1.700 were Quattroporte (-17%).
Italy leads the European ranking of Maserati with almost 2.900 units. The homeland of Maserati was followed by Germany (1.800 units), UK (1.700) and Switzerland with 917 vehicles registered.
As Quattroporte and Ghibli sales continue to lose ground, and the Levante struggles to find its place, tt isn’t clear how Maserati will be able to keep its profitability in the coming months. One more SUV will certainly help but won’t be enough, especially because is not clear when its sedans will have a replacement.
Source: FGW database, Automotive News Europe, Bestsellingcarsblog.com, Carsitaly.net, KBA, SMMT, UNRAE, ANIACAM, CCFA, FENABRAVE, Autoblog Argentina, JATO Dynamics, Autoblog Uruguay, Motor.com.co, Goodcarbadcar.net