Insight

With 115 Years Behind Him, Morgan’s CEO Looks Ahead

by Nik Berg
27 May 2024 4 min read
With 115 Years Behind Him, Morgan’s CEO Looks Ahead

In the historic red brick building in which H.F.S. Morgan built his first vehicle 115 years ago, Morgan CEO Massimo Fumarola has just revealed one step on the company’s path to the future. The Midsummer barchetta, designed in conjunction with Pininfarina, could only have happened under his leadership and with his connection to the coachbuilder from his native Italy.

Fumarola is softly spoken, but his actions during the past two years in charge at the Malvern-based motor company speak louder than words. The Midsummer, limited in production to just 50 cars, sold out before it was publicly revealed. At over £200,000 each (when tailored to their buyers’ preferences), that’s a significant cash injection for a company that makes just 700 cars a year.

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He has also succeeded in bringing Morgan back to the United States – once the brand’s biggest market. “Morgan was selling more cars in the US than in the UK in the ’90s,” he says. “So there is definitely an opportunity. We will go to the US with the Plus 4 under the Replica Bill approval process, this year, which allow us to sell up to 325 cars per year.”

The Super 3 is already on sale in America and globally, classed as a motorcycle and not so restricted. It’s the brand’s best-seller despite being a radical departure from tradition in the way it looks, is engineered, and built.

Morgan factory

Outwardly, Morgan is the most traditional of motor manufacturers. In the factory, artisans still hand cut timber to create the ash frames for the shapely aluminum bodywork of its four-wheelers that’s only subtly changed since the 1950s. The technology beneath the skin has moved on, with a rigid aluminum CX platform underpinning the company’s four-wheeled machines, and power and transmissions come from BMW. Stroll through the site, though, and it’s clear that Morgans remain very much hand-built in much the same way as they have been for decades. “You could talk to all 220 people who work here in one day,” smiles Fumarola.

His arrival at Morgan comes after an extensive career which began with Iveco trucks and included stints at Ferrari and Lamborghini. If you believe in destiny, it was perhaps inevitable.

“When I grew up, my neighbor was a member of the Italian Morgan club. He was an interesting guy, a journalist, very colourful. He knew everything about Morgan, he was telling me all the stories about the brand. So since I was a boy, I have always been attracted by this brand. It’s completely pure – authentic,” he recalls.

“I went through my studies, I went through my career in the automotive industry. I’ve always been looking at Morgan as something different unconventional and unique. I had always been dreaming of driving one and one day came the opportunity. I met the current ownership of Morgan, we started discussing, we put together a plan and we said okay, what a great opportunity it could be.”

He’s certainly been busy since. “I joined Morgan exactly two years ago and a lot of things changed. We reorganized our operation, we set up new processes, we launched the Super 3 and brought it into the US. We developed the XP-1 electric (below), the new Plus 4, and the Midsummer.”

Morgan XP-1 concept-2

Looking further ahead, Fumarola has a clear vision of Morgan’s place in the automotive landscape. “We need to be consistent, we need to be mindful of our capability and what we do,” he explains. “However, there is a tremendous opportunity – I’m convinced about this – about leveraging on the past on the heritage and tradition of this brand. 115 years ago Morgan was born in this building. We never moved, we never stopped and we are so iconic and so undiluted, so unconventional in some respects. There is an opportunity to go more international more digital to start talking to a different audience, a younger generation. It’s not an easy job, it’s going to be a long way. But so far so good.”

The XP-1 that Fumarola mentions is unlikely to play a role, even though electrification will. “For most carmakers today developing and producing full electric cars is a more regulation-driven decision,” says the CEO. “In our case it may become an opportunistic decision to follow demand rather than following regulations.

“Given the latest regulation in Europe, we can actually produce internal combustion engine vehicles beyond 2035 because we produce less than 1,000 cars per year. So, we can go on forever with the current status of the regulations. We will definitely follow demand. There is a growing interest in some areas, in some countries, in main metropolitan areas, for example, for full electric. We have ideas, we are putting together plans. I don’t think that the right decision will be to electrify the current Plus 4 four or even the Super 3. So, the idea we have is that a certain point of time, we may have an additional model in the portfolio, which will be designed and engineered to be full electric.”

That sounds radical but Fumarola believes it is true to the brand. “Morgan has never produced an internal combustion engine in 115 years, so, in some respects, we are the best candidate to move into electrification,” he says. “There is a good fit between the core values of Morgan, and an electric car. It definitely will be light, will be fun to drive, it will be sensory, it will be analogue, despite the full electric powertrain, it will be everything that Morgan stands for.”

“But we need to manage this change, we need to measure transition. We need to be mindful, we need to be true to ourself, we need to measure very much the risk of developing new cars and repositioning the brand in a different territory. But the plan is there. We know what to do. And it’s very exciting.”

Via Hagerty US.

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Comments

  • Neale F Abbott says:

    Hi – My Dad had a Morgan Plus 8 when Mum & Dad were courting and would often drive to Slapton Sands Nr: Dartmouth on a Sunday. Sadly Sold when married and the 3 Kids came along.
    But still holds a brilliant memory now as both parents have passed away.
    Dad would tell me the story when the break cable failed and he was going down hill on to Slapton Sands, Mum recalls that Dad was in a sporty mood that day unaware of the issue in hand – Funny – but all ends well as Dad repaired the problem on the beach and the journey continued not so Sporty I’m sure. God Bless them xx
    Like the New Morgan but the colour has to be BR-Green or Cream !!

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