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Maserati Has Terrible Sales Quarter Because Of China

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The Italian automaker needs help if it wants to hit its goals.

Maserati has had some difficulties with China in the past. The Italian automaker requires its dealerships to maintain a certain level of stock and has even told some of its retailers to mark inventory as sold to skew sales numbers. Automotive News reports that Maserati had poor second-quarter sales in 2018 and FCA CEO Mike Manley says "70 percent of the issue is all focused on China." Interestingly, this time the issue isn't with Maserati's dealer tactics, but the recent trade complications with China.

A few months ago, China lowered its tariffs on imported vehicles and auto parts from 25% to 15%. The lower tariffs were set to take effect on July 1, so many dealerships held off on ordering inventory until then. This is why Maserati sales were much lower in June than they were in 2017. Sales fell 41% compared with the same period in 2017, mainly due to a 69% decrease in shipments to China. FCA CEO Mike Manly says the company will be able to rebound from this issue. "I have confidence in the Maserati team to make up whatever the shortfall that they have had today saleswise," Manley said.

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Maserati's recent issues in China basically wiped out the company's second-quarter earnings. The company's earnings fell to 2 million euros ($2.32 million) in the second quarter, down from 152 million euros in the same period in 2017. Maserati has also faced issues with low demand and had to temporarily shut down its plant in Turin, Italy. The brand sold 50,000 cars in 2017 thanks to the addition of the Levante SUV. Still, the Italian automaker has a long way to go to reach its goal of doubling sales by 2022. Maserati has some new models on the way, including a mid-size SUV and the long-awaited production version of the Alfieri coupe, and it will desperately need these new models to reach its goal of 100,000 units sold annually by 2022.