Sergio Marchionne, CEO of the Fiat Chrysler Alliance (FCA), announced Maserati's forthcoming strategy to investors earlier this week - and the future is electric. Acting as the forward-looking electric brand under the FCA umbrella, all cars rolling off the Maranello production line from as soon as 2019 will be electrically assisted at the very least.
Following a string of pledges by multiple national governments (most recently the UK) to crack down on vehicle emissions, Marchionne’s announcement is hardly surprising. VW, Volvo and many other marques have outlined plans and development paths to strengthen and expand their hybrid and electric vehicle offerings in the coming years.
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During his correspondence with investors, Marchionne earmarked electrification as “an integral part of the development of the [Fiat Chrysler] group”, further noting “we [FCA] have been reluctant to embrace that avenue until we saw clearer the path forward”.
FCA’s attitude to electrification had been sceptical and sluggish in comparison to the rest of industry, pointing to R&D costs and minimal demand for justification. Marchionne proposed the initial transformation phase guiding the group’s electrification steps until 2022, when the majority of FCA models will be electrically powered in some way or another.
“When it [Maserati] completes the development of its next two models, it will effectively switch all of its portfolio to electrification”, said Marchionne. “As these products come up for renewal post 2019, it will start launching vehicles which are all-electric and which embody, I think, what will be considered state of the art technology."
These electric underpinnings could first surface under the sleek body of the Maserati Alfieri concept. The 2+2 debuted in 2014 at the Geneva motor show and has sat on the back burner ever since. Speaking about the coupe last year, Marchionne hinted it may be revived and engineered housing an electric powertrain.
All current models are likely to offer electrified drivetrains following midlife facelifts to compete with rival offerings in multiple segments. Electrified Ghibli and Levante models would have to contend with the Mercedes E350e plug-in hybrid and Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid respectively, just to name a few.
Current details of FCA’s electrification strategy are fairly scarce, but FCA expect to hold an investor day in 2018 to better inform investors and the media on the future. With Marchionne’s tenure concluding in 2019, the five-year electrification plan will have to tackle the unavoidable uncertainty of a leadership restructure.