Expanding an automotive empire is tricky business. You can either pit one brand within the group against another, or you have to differentiate them significantly. Volkswagen has opted for the former, with numerous competitors from different group brands in the same segments, but the Fiat/Chrysler group over which Sergio Marchionne presides is going the other route.
As a result, Marchionne insists that Ferrari isn't after the same market that the likes of Porsche and Bentley – both part of the Volkswagen group – currently pursue. Ferrari, he says, is in a league of its own, but in fact it plays against the likes of Lamborghini and Bugatti. So what is Marchionne pitting against Porsche and Bentley? Maserati.
Reiterating that Ferrari will never build an SUV or a four-door sedan, Marchionne points to Maserati to fill those niches. In order to get there, as we know, the Trident marque is launching a pair of sedans – one larger and one smaller – to succeed the current Quattroporte, and the SUV currently known as the Kubang, previewed in concept form at the Frankfurt show last month.
Together with the GranTurismo range – the convertible version of which Marchionne is pictured with above – the new models are pegged to boost Maserati's sales up tenfold over the course of the coming years, from the 5,675 units it sold last year up to 55,000 or even 60,000 units. Ferrari's sales, meanwhile, will be limited to 10,000 units from the 6,573 it sold last year in markets around the world.