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Maserati spearheads FCA's push to electrified vehicles
July 27, 2017 Michael Wayland
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plans for more than half of its lineup to be electrified by 2022, including all Maserati models following 2019, according to CEO Sergio Marchionne.
Marchionne, who plans to retire in early-2019, said recent global scandals involving diesel engines emitting excessive emissions played a major role in the recent rise of electrified vehicle announcements.
"What has really made the issue absolutely mandatory now is the fate of diesel … especially in Europe," he said. "Some type of electrification on gas engines is inevitable."
FCA has been slow to adopt electrified powertrains due to cost and lack of demand. The company currently only offers a plug-in hybrid version of its Chrysler Pacifica and an all-electric model of the Fiat 500, which Marchionne has infamously told consumers not to buy because the company loses thousands of dollars on each sale.
Marchionne's change of heart comes as some European countries have announced plans to ban gasoline and diesel cars in the coming years, including Norway by 2025 and the U.K. and France by 2040.
The issues overshadowing FCA's electrified future, according to Marchionne, is not the r&d of electrified powertrains, but the reduction in variable production costs (batteries, motors and so on).
He said those costs will not come down quickly. A huge increase in pricing will be needed in 2021-2022 that will cause a shrinkage of demand. FCA does not plan to begin making its own batteries.
To likely help with those costs, Marchionne said Maserati will lead the charge for the company's electrified future.
Marchionne said all new Maserati models following 2019 will be electrified, including all-electric models for the premium brand to compete against Tesla Inc.
"When it completes the development of its next two models, it will effectively switch all of its portfolio to electrification," he told analysts and journalists during a conference call Thursday to discuss FCA second-quarter earnings. "It's an integral part of the development of all of the group."
That's a far cry from Maserati's zero electrified models today, but the brand sources engines from Ferrari, which Marchionne last year said would experience a "fundamental shift" toward hybridization beginning in 2019.
Marchionne, also chairman and CEO of Ferrari, said FCA would disclose additional product plans early next year during an investor day to outline its newest five-year plan through 2022.
[© Crain Communications]
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