Never one to mince words, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne isn’t sugarcoating the  Maserati  Levante’s slow launch.

The Italian automaker’s luxury SUV is off to a rough start, with FCA having to trim the Maserati Levante’s production plant hours by nearly 60 percent. This is after the company halted production for the Levante for roughly a week as a way to avoid a surplus of inventory.

Speaking to investors to discuss quarterly earnings, Marchionne was rather blunt about the SUV’s launch. “Very poor execution,” he said. “I think we sucked at the launch of the Levante.” Marchionne thinks very highly of the Levante, it seems, but found its launch last year a huge disappointment.

Things are changing for the brand, however, with Maserati looking to turn things around. In February, Tim Kuniskis was named the new global head of Alfa Romeo and Maserati, replacing Reid Bigland. Kuniskis’ success with the Dodge brand, including the Demon launch, helped earned him the new position. In Marchionne’s eyes, the New York debut of the Levante Trofeo (seen above) serves as a “reset for the U.S. market.”

Marchionne still plans to retire early next year and expects FCA profit margins to pass those of competitors General Motors and Ford. Once again, he was rather blunt: “If it doesn’t happen on my watch, I have no doubt my successor will be able to whack the crap out of both of them.” So, there’s that.

[Source:  Motor Trend ]

this article first appeared on AutoGuide