Not everything can be done internally.
While Maserati is working to re-position itself as a brand beyond BMW and Mercedes luxury, it’s still lagging behind with its technology. Chief among them is self-driving tech. Although it’s not impossible to develop this in-house, it would take years and cost money Maserati doesn’t have at the moment. What to do? Buy help from a competitor.
According to Bloomberg, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Chairman John Elkann has just announced a deal that will see future Maseratis utilizing self-driving technology being developed by BMW. Specifically, this tech will provide assisted-driving features for the highway. No specific date as to when this rollout will begin was announced.
This past January, Maserati was forced to layoff over 2,400 employees at its manufacturing facility in Turin, Italy. Another 800 people were let go in March. These layoffs are slated to last until December 31, 2019, so it’s still entirely possible things could get back to normal and that people will be re-hired. Or not. In the meantime, these employees are currently undergoing re-training on how to build electric and hybrid powertrains as Maserati is preparing a major shift towards both.
Although it won’t give up on internal combustion entirely, Maserati is still undergoing major internal changes that will, hopefully, lead to profits in the years ahead.
Elkann did state, however, that Maserati will be the first FCA brand to use BMW’s new tech. In 2017, Maserati joined a consortium led by BMW that is focusing on developing self-driving technologies. Furthermore, Maserati continues to work with Waymo, which is already testing specifically modified Chrysler Pacifica minivans with advanced autonomous technologies.
This announcement is especially good news for Maserati because, well, it could use it. Sales have not been good lately. In the first business quarter of this year, it suffered a 32 percent sales decrease compared to the same time last year.