Fiat spends 
1.2bn euros to take on 

ITALIAN carmaker Fiat is investing 1.2 billion euros in luxury brand Maserati, hoping technology and dealerships from its tie-up with Chrysler will help it to take on German rivals BMW and Porsche.

While previous attempts to grow its Maserati and Alfa Romeo brands have fallen flat, Fiat hopes Chrysler’s 2,300-store US dealer network will make the difference, raising its share of the luxury market, which enjoys double-digit profit margins, many times Fiat’s likely two per cent mass-market returns this year.

Chrysler also lets the Turin-based company tap the US carmaker’s expertise at making bigger cars and save on development costs.

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Maserati brand chief executive Harald Wester said that Fiat would invest in three new Maserati models in a bid to lift sales to 50,000 cars in 2015.

The brand aims to sell at least 13,000 of its new four-door Quattroporte sedans in 2013, compared with a total of about 4,700 cars Maserati sold in the first three quarters of 2012.

The new Quattroporte is the second car built from a shared car body to be launched by Fiat since the start of its 2009 tie-up with Chrysler. It competes with the BMW 7 Series and Porsche’s Panamera.

The Quattroporte is priced between E100,000 euros and E150,000, the top of the range about 20 per cent below an entry-level Ferrari, while a Panamera runs from E77,000 to E166,000.

The launch is being closely watched to see how well Fiat executes its plan to leverage Chrysler’s market access and technology.