Why the MC20 is arguably Maserati's most important launch in a while
Amidst all the hype, here's why this might very well be the car that saves Maserati.
Maserati is in a bit of a weird situation right now. As Doug DeMuro points out, Maserati is devaluing its own brand by trying to make it overly accessible through too many dealers and leasing programs. It almost seems that FCA don’t even care about Maserati these days and the brand has an obvious market clash with sister brand Alfa Romeo. It has been very clear (in the eyes of enthusiasts at least) that Maseratis are supposed to invoke excitement and awe into even the people merely looking at them. The sad truth is though, that most of Maserati’s lineup is just downright dull. Even Alfa Romeo (who, let’s face it, are positioned as a more accessible brand than the Trident) make cars that younger fans like me actually think are special. Just ask yourself, would you pick a Levante or a Ghibli over a Stelvio or a Giulia (which are both a segment down respectively)? I certainly wouldn’t.
It is really a shame, because Maserati has the desirability and the image to take on brands like Porsche and Aston Martin and even triumph over them, but that they’re choosing not to. Or in my opinion, they should adapt to the times and switch over to EVs like Jaguar and gain significant market share in the premium EV space. For a while now, Maserati has been stuck in a hole, apparently directionless on where to take the company next. As a relatively young car enthusiast, whenever I think of Maserati, I think MC12, GranTurismo MC and Quattroporte; not Ghibli or Levante. The fact that they’ve not updated their lineup in a long while and have continued to sell essentially decade old products doesn’t help them in market relevancy.
Although the wait for the production Alfieri may have to continue a bit longer, 2020 finally seems to be the start of a turnaround for the historic brand. First, with the launch of the Quattroporte, Ghibli and Levante Trofeos, they’ve managed to successfully breathe life into products that were losing market relevancy really fast. The thought of a Ferrari V8 in a sedan really tingles my senses and I really do hope that they do well. But the MC20 is arguably a much more important product than the Trofeo trio. It is Maserati’s first supercar since the MC12 16 years ago, and let’s just take a moment to appreciate the fact that it exists at all. This was the first time that I truly waited for the launch of a car in a long while. Apparently, the car is tiny, so it should be great fun in the corners – the perfect antidote to excessively big modern supercars.
It is no secret though, that the MC20 was supposed to be an Alfa Romeo and that the tub is a reworked version of the 4C’s. As much as it would’ve been amazing to see an Alfa supercar, a car like this makes much more sense for Maserati; Alfa Romeo stands for something completely different in the current market – more of a BMW rival than Porsche. What’s even more interesting is that the MC20 will be offered in a full Electric version in the near future – news that potentially shows the start of the tide turning at Maserati. A new-gen Quattroporte EV would be excellent alongside the Porsche Taycan, the Tesla Model S and even Jaguar’s upcoming XJ EV. Going electric will put Maserati (and FCA) at the frontline of the hugely competitive EV space where they don’t seem to be making strides in comparison to other big players. It sets up an aspirational brand as a great base to develop and sell its technologies in the premium segment while allowing tech to filter down into more accessible sub brands. It has also been confirmed that the MC20 will go racing – a brilliant move to regain lost brand value.
While we obviously expect the MC20 to be brilliant (Maserati know a thing or two about making great driving experiences in their cars), it cannot be disregarded as just another supercar in a market filled with them. The MC20 is arguably one of Maserati’s most important launches in their long and storied history. You needn’t look past the hype that this car has received in the build up to the launch to understand why – it has gotten people talking about Maserati again. No, it isn’t going to be their biggest seller, in fact far from it. It has put one of the world’s most iconic carmakers back on the map and the road back to its glory days. One day in the not so distant future, if Maserati becomes a global giant again, we’ll have the MC20 to look back and thank. And that is great news for absolutely everybody.