In the automotive world, few names are more iconic than Alfa Romeo and Maserati. But could parent Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) be willing to sell them?
Both brands have checkered recent histories, and FCA has made efforts to revive Alfa and Maserati. Yet some analysts believe FCA may simply cut the two Italian brands loose in order to improve its financial health, according to Forbes. Current CEO Sergio Marchionne plans to retire in 2018, and hopes to leave FCA profitable and without much debt. Selling Alfa and Maserati could accomplish that, analysts say.
Sales of the two Italian automakers, as well as parts division Magneti Marelli, could make FCA debt free, Alexander Haissl, an analyst with Berenberg Bank, said. The sale of Maserati alone could net $3.6 billion to $4.8 billion, enough to offset most of FCA’s current debt, Haissl added. He believes Magneti Marelli could bring in $2.3 billion to $3.7 billion. Samsung has reportedly shown interest in the division.
It’s unclear whether FCA would actually sell Alfa, given that it just invested significantly in two high-volume models: the Giulia sedan and Stelvio SUV. Both are part of a much-discussed, and much-delayed, plan to revive Alfa as a mainstream automaker. The rear-wheel drive platform used by both models is also expected to be employed by Dodge for future versions of the Charger and Challenger.
Maserati recently got its Levante SUV, which will help the brand take advantage of the public’s seemingly insatiable appetite for utility vehicles. But the rest of the automaker’s lineup is older, and doesn’t hold up as well to the competition. FCA hasn’t been as aggressive with expansion plans for Maserati as it has for Alfa, although it keeps promising a sports car based on the well-received Alfieri concept that first appeared back in 2014.
FCA already spun off Ferrari in 2015, offering 10 percent of its 90-percent stake in the legendary automaker on the New York Stock Exchange (founder Enzo Ferrari’s son Piero kept his 10-percent stake). FCA CEO Marchionne still runs Ferrari, though.