Maserati has announced a plan to increase sales to 50,000 per year, compared to around 6,000 today.

Clearly, not even the booming Chinese market is going to absorb tens of thousands of Quattroportes. The plan is to bring Maserati downmarket (comparatively speaking) to compete in higher-volume segments. The first such model will be the Maserati Kubang SUV, aimed at rivals like the Porsche Cayenne. Rather scarily, it is based on a Jeep Grand Cherokee platform, so Maserati is clearly going to have to do a lot of work to make it a credible Porsche and Land Rover rival.

It seems that Fiat, Maserati's owner, has given up on its original plan of making Maserati a less extreme version of Ferrari, selling 10,000 a year. With sales barely more than half of that, the target has been changed to make Maserati more of an upmarket Alfa Romeo. Now, wasn't the original plan with Alfa Romeo to make it more upmarket?

Plans at Fiat tend to be quite elastic, but this is quite a change even for them. Sergio Marchionne, Fiat's boss is trying to find a logical positioning strategy for all his brands (Fiat, Lancia, Alfa Romeo, Maserati plus Chrysler/Jeep) but they are a good decade behind VW's standards of brand management.