'I Think We Sucked at the Launch of the Levante': FCA CEO

Jason Siu
by Jason Siu

Never one to mince words, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne isn’t sugarcoating the Maserati Levante’s slow launch.

The Italian automaker’s luxury SUV is off to a rough start, with FCA having to trim the Maserati Levante’s production plant hours by nearly 60 percent. This is after the company halted production for the Levante for roughly a week as a way to avoid a surplus of inventory.

Speaking to investors to discuss quarterly earnings, Marchionne was rather blunt about the SUV’s launch. “Very poor execution,” he said. “I think we sucked at the launch of the Levante.” Marchionne thinks very highly of the Levante, it seems, but found its launch last year a huge disappointment.

SEE ALSO: 2018 Maserati Levante Review

Things are changing for the brand, however, with Maserati looking to turn things around. In February, Tim Kuniskis was named the new global head of Alfa Romeo and Maserati, replacing Reid Bigland. Kuniskis’ success with the Dodge brand, including the Demon launch, helped earned him the new position. In Marchionne’s eyes, the New York debut of the Levante Trofeo (seen above) serves as a “reset for the U.S. market.”

Marchionne still plans to retire early next year and expects FCA profit margins to pass those of competitors General Motors and Ford. Once again, he was rather blunt: “If it doesn’t happen on my watch, I have no doubt my successor will be able to whack the crap out of both of them.” So, there’s that.

[Source: Motor Trend]

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Jason Siu
Jason Siu

Jason Siu began his career in automotive journalism in 2003 with Modified Magazine, a property previously held by VerticalScope. As the West Coast Editor, he played a pivotal role while also extending his expertise to Modified Luxury & Exotics and Modified Mustangs. Beyond his editorial work, Jason authored two notable Cartech books. His tenure at AutoGuide.com saw him immersed in the daily news cycle, yet his passion for hands-on evaluation led him to focus on testing and product reviews, offering well-rounded recommendations to AutoGuide readers. Currently, as the Content Director for VerticalScope, Jason spearheads the content strategy for an array of online publications, a role that has him at the helm of ensuring quality and consistency across the board.

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