Tesla is the target according to Tim Kuniskis, who presides over Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ premium Maserati and Alfa Romeo brands, as he recently discussed the brands new respective electrification strategies. FCA has been slow to respond to the markets changing wants and needs for electric cars, with CEO Sergio Marchionne suggesting not that long ago that electric vehicles are a big financial investment and not worth the risk.
However FCA has now changed its tune, when it announced back in June the companies new strategy, it outlined a plan that would see electrification across all the FCA brands, predominantly with Maserati, and Alfa Romeo taking the lead roles. “Everything gets electrified,” FCA’s Head of Maserati and Alfa Romeo recently told NBC News in an exclusive interview. “Look at our product portfolio and you see we’re going after Tesla,” he said, certainly the recently unveiled Maserati Alfieri suggests in the performance stakes the Italian carmaker is serious in it’s quest to deliver what it’s customers now want.
Almost every major carmaker is now turning electric as the industry finds a means to meet ever-stricter emissions standards around the world, but the technology isn’t cheap, so “compliance cars” – inexpensive, mass-market EV offerings – have a tendency of generating little to no profit. At one time, FCA was losing more than $10k for every pure-electric Fiat 500E it sold, as a matter of fact, leading Sergio Marchionne to ask customer to actually not buy it!
But expensive luxury and performance cars have an advantage: their higher-than-average margins give carmakers more of a fighting chance of turning a profit even with the added expense of electrified powertrains. Plus, the technology often brings with it an inherent performance advantage over traditional internal combustion engines, meaning Maserati and Alfa Romeo – and indeed, many of their competitors – can rightfully charge more for electrified models.
High-end electrified FCA vehicles will “have a performance advantage” over their ICE counterparts, Time Kuniskis went on to say, allowing them to occupy the top-most rungs of the “performance ladder” and command higher prices. In addition to relying less on petrol, range-topping electrified models from Maserati and Alfa Romeo are “going to give you more horsepower and quicker 0 to 60 times,” the he told NBCNews.
What are you most looking forward to in this electric evolution, a new Maserati or Alfa Romeo?