FCA's Marchionne: Maserati will take place of Ferrari

With Ferrari\'s spin-off later this year, Maserati will be positioned as FCA\'s premium brand.

With Ferrari getting spun off of the FCA empire this year, CEO Sergio Marchionne is positioning Maserati to be the company's new prestige brand.

According to Bloomberg, Marchionne is seeking to double Maserati's sales goals (to 75,000) and increase its profit margins to 15 percent (up from the current 10) by 2018. In comparison, Ferrari has a profit margin of 13 percent. "Ferrari's power, prestige and profits have helped bankroll the more pedestrian Dodges, Jeeps, Fiats and Chryslers that account for most of [FCA's] revenue." says the article. Incidentally, typical FCA margins over around 3 to 4 percent.

However, after a highly publicized falling out with the ex-Ferrari chairman, Marchionne decided to spin off Ferrari, selling 10 percent of its stock in order to fund other business ventures. This removes FCA's control over the exotic car maker, a position Fiat has held for 45 years. As a result, "Maserati becomes the most coveted, exclusive brand that we have," says Marchionne.

In contrast, Fiat has only owned Maserati since 1993. The goal of the company is to now boost sales by introducing new models like the Levante SUV and a new entry-level coupe. However, it must also balance that against brand exclusivity and dealers who have been seen as too aggressive with incentive discounts.

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