Folgore in Italian means lightning bolt, and it is the word Maserati is using for its electrification strategy. In time, every Maserati will have a Folgore derivative, by 2025 in fact, but this year, the first model to arrive is the GranTurismo Folgore coupe. Shortly after, will be the Grecale SUV and then the GranCabrio. 

We ask Peter Charters (PC) and Howard Dalziel (HD) how the concept of electrification fits with Maserati. HD explains: “We’re a traditional Italian brand known for our engines. For me – electrification works perfectly, in that our brand purpose is to provide those who move the world, with the best in luxury performance. Electrification runs hand in hand with that, in terms of what you can achieve with the performance and refinement.

“What sums up Maserati for me, is the audacious nature of what it does. We’re a small manufacturer, so can be brave in terms of what we can do in the market, safe in the knowledge that we have the full support of the wider Stellantis organisation around us – but working autonomously within that environment. 

“We’ve never designed a car to take true advantage of loopholes in Benefit in Kind in the UK market, but Folgore is a happy coincidence. The timing of these cars coming to market has considerable opportunity to get established once again in both the fleet and corporate markets. 

“Grecale has done a brilliant job for us already, in terms of its full year of sales. Grecale Folgore won’t be a volume fleet player, but we will do more than the rest of the EV range. 

“We’ve also got the GranTurismo, launched very subtly into the UK market at the end of last year – I guess more to traditional Maserati owners. We’ll see how that changes as they begin to see the fully-electric version in the market.”

Will bringing in the Folgore version of the new GranTurismo first attract more of a corporate customer than expected? PC says: “In terms of GranTurismo being interesting to fleet customers, they are directors and owners of companies, but now they’re going to have the benefit of the low BIK, so we see a huge opportunity for this car in the UK. 

“What the retail and fleet split will be, is hard to predict. I think it will take off quicker in fleet, because of the taxation. Leasing companies are coming to us proactively, asking about the cars – which gives us huge confidence as well.” 

HD says: “If we look at BIK on the most affordable Grecale, they’ve not been designed to take advantage of BIK and every ICE model, even the mild hybrids, are at the maximum 37% standard charge. For a 40% taxpayer, for even the most affordable Grecale, you’re talking around £800 a month. 

“What we now see, with the 2% BIK scale charge, it opens a significant audience. So, whilst it would be great to think we would sell many GranTurismo Folgore into fleet, there’s a luxury price, but you’ll pay a low benefit in kind, and we’re still excited at the opportunity. 

“That isn’t enough, because we’ve also got to be doing the right thing in terms of proactive engagement with the leasing companies, and salary sacrifice partners – now these cars are becoming available. 

“To give confidence to people embarking on the Maserati ownership experience – the first three services are included into the list price – we’ve done this since 2018, and it has served us very well. Not least from a retail perspective, but also broadly in terms of fleet, when calculating maintenance payments. We’re giving everyone confidence with what’s covered within that contract, so the lease providers only need to build out ancillaries for items such as tyres within that. 

“We’ve also been working equally hard with the right data providers on the specification of the vehicles, in order that we will get a strong forecasted residual value – an intrinsic part of the process – which we have! Also, working with them to optimise the specification of the vehicles too.”

Surely the majority of corporate Folgore buyers are going to be new to the brand?

PC says: “Its uniqueness will bring a Porsche Taycan customer (of which there are a lot!), or a Bentley Continental customer, who wants to have an electric car. They will be new to our brand. There’s a decent number of Aston Martin and Bentley customers that don’t currently have a choice, so the GranTurismo more than the Grecale Folgore offers us a conquest opportunity for fleet. With Grecale still being the volume player. 

“Until now we have been retail-focused, with Grecale as well. Short supply and high-end pricing, we’ve not done a single daily rental car, we’ve completely stayed out of big corporate, with Folgore, there’s a chance in a quality way, to enter some of those corporate channels.”

HD says: “The Grecale is not a car we’ve deliberately sold many units into the corporate space. 

“So, what’s possible? The answer is we don’t know yet. What we do know is that we’ve got a very competitive and desirable proposition and we’re not chasing the volume. We must retain the premium element to these cars, which it more than matches up to. I won’t be out there chasing opportunities to discount the car and put us into a position that we’re not comfortable with.”

PC says: “What excites me most for Folgore, is the fact that we haven’t launched or priced the cars, and we’ve got corporate people wanting to have meetings.”

HD says: “I cannot do it on my own, but we are fortunate to have some fantastic dealer partners, who do have corporate teams.”

Have you got a partner for Maserati charging boxes? HD says: “All cars come with a Maserati-branded charging box; we’re empowering the customer to make their own fitment arrangements. If they’re struggling, or want the box installed before the car arrives, we’re working with Bosch and Free2move, who have an infrastructure of engineers, or recommended people that will do it. 

“We recognise that some people will have their own electrician – they may even have more than one home, so we’re covering all avenues in terms of the ownership of these EV models. We’re also thoughtful about the second owners of the vehicle and how we look after them and the position for the second owner is a winning one. Being part of the Stellantis Group, we benefit from their insight and expertise in terms of what makes a winning EV proposition. Clearly, with the RV, we must have a winning proposition when it reaches its second or third owner.”