First and foremost, the brand was treated as a mass market brand.
With just 950 sales in the United States last month according to CarSalesBase, Maserati is clearly not experiencing great market success. Since the beginning of 2018, the Italian company has delivered 9,363 units on the American market, down by almost 16 percent compared to the first 10 months of 2017.
The lack of new products is one of the brand’s biggest problems, but crucial mistakes with its positioning on the market were also made. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ new boss, Mike Manley, commented in a recent interview that advertising Maserati "almost as if it were a mass market brand" and putting its cars under one roof with Alfa Romeo were major management mistakes.
"With hindsight, when we put Maserati and Alfa together, it did two things,” he told Automotive News. “Firstly, it reduced the focus on Maserati the brand. Secondly, Maserati was treated for a period of time almost as if it were a mass market brand, which it isn't and shouldn't be treated that way."
Other major factors for Maserati’s massive sales decline are the slowdown on the Chinese luxury market and the new WLTP emissions standards in Europe, which forced many marques to halt production of certain models or entire model series.
Sergio Marchionne, the former FCA CEO, initially drew an ambitious plan for Maserati’s worldwide sales in 2018 with expected deliveries of 75,000 vehicles. In June this year, the target was significantly revised to 50,000 units, but that forecast also seems quite unrealistic considering the current market position of the Italian automaker.
In the first nine months of 2018, Maserati has sold 26,400 vehicles around the world, which means it needs to shift no less than 24,000 cars in the October-December period, one-third more than the record 18,237 shipped in Q4 of 2016. That’s obviously not going to happen, leaving Maserati way behind its annual target.