Newly-appointed Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Michael Manley has admitted that the organisational pairing of Maserati with Alfa Romeo was a mistake, and the partnership has caused Maserati to be treated “almost like a mass-market brand,” Autocar reports.

Manley has appointed Harald Wester as the head of Maserati – the German once helmed the brand between 2008 and 2016, and his return will see the installation of a new management team. Wester, who has already recruited Jean-Philippe Leloup from Ferrari to lead the new Maserati Commercial department, will also be in charge of developing a revised plan for the Maserati brand. There’s also a new chief for the North American market, although it’s unclear at this point if additional investments will be poured into the brand.

At an investor conference last year, Manley said “with hindsight, when we put Maserati and Alfa together, it did two things. Firstly, it reduced the focus on the Maserati brand. Secondly, Maserati was treated, for a period of time, almost as if it were a mass-market brand, which it isn’t, and shouldn’t be treated that way.”

Manley added that the new plan “will be followed by some further action which we will take in the fourth quarter. It will take at least two quarters to sort through some of the channel issues, but I’m expecting Harald and his team to make some significant progress beginning in the second half of 2019.”

The internal shakeup is due to faltering sales and profits – Maserati has been hit by a substantial drop in sales (particularly China), and faces some challenges created by the new WLTP emissions regulations.

However, the root of its problem is the lack of new models. The GranTurismo and GranCabrio range is 11 years old, making them among the oldest cars on sale today. The Ghibli and Quattroporte sedans are five years old, whereas the two-year-old Levante is facing stiff competition, going against the likes of the Porsche Cayenne, BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE.

Overall, Maserati sales were down 26% year-on-year by the third quarter of 2018. The automaker had set a target of 50,000 sales globally (it was 75,000 units initially, but adjusted downwards), however only 26,400 cars were shipped by the end of September 2018.

Maserati’s plans for the next five years were previously laid out during the last investor conference chaired by former CEO Sergio Marchionne in June 2018. The plan includes the launching of the Alfieri coupé, in both fully electric and plug-in hybrid forms; a smaller SUV to the Levante, as well as an all-new Ghibli, Quattroporte and Levante, all of which will be available as EVs and plug-in hybrids.