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Maserati Changes Tach: Trident Aims For Expansion And To Avert Crisis With Workforce

by Gunnar Heinrich ::: img Maserati

WITH so much airtime being given to the Lotus PR fiasco, it probably stands to reason that the following bit of info from Maserati-owner Fiat hasn’t gotten much attention. From what I can make of it, Maserati is going through growing pains. But rather than those innocuous sore periods your remember as a kid, this kind of pain seems to be affecting the stability of the company. And Fiat PR has taken the drastic measure of calling it a “crisis”.

Pointedly, Maserati wants to rise to Jaguar-level sales circa 1995. To become more a mainstream player in the luxury market, if you like. This from a marque that slept through the 90s and only managed a turnaround after returning to the American market in 2002. It’s a kind of fierce ambition that seems to have company management at odds with an established unionized workforce.

At present, it appears the current plant in Modena couldn’t possibly do the job of building 10 times as many cars as they were once comfortable making. And they don’t have the room. Given the stringent nature of Italian labor laws and municipal limitations, we might well expect that Maserati will be shifting production outside of Italy – starting with the Kubang (based on a Jeep platform) and going from there with the  2013 Quattroporte and the baby Quattroporte. It could be Maserati designed by Maserati and made by Chrysler very soon. Or not. Fiat points to the recently acquired Bertone plant as the probable new venue for the bulk of Maserati manufacturing.

But all that depends on what seem like a tangled web of negotiations. Buona Fortuna, Maserati.

Press release to follow.

Team Maserati For M.Y. 2012

Ciao! 1982 Maserati Quattroporte III

by Gunnar Heinrich ::: img via Maserati Club ::: Maserati Quattroporte III

LIKE the Rolls-Royce Camargue, Jaguar XJ40 chassis XJ, and the K-body Caddy Seville of the same decade, the 80s Maserati Quattroporte is a four door GT that today’s Fiat-owned Maserati probably hopes time will forget. Or at least forgive. But for the owners of these distinct 80s grand tourers… the Quattroportes are Masers that you cannot help but love.

Truth is, if you could find that one example that wasn’t completely dodgy you’d be hooked. Kind of like Angelina Jolie in Girl Interrupted – you’re strongly compelled without somehow acknowledging the red flags and orange hazard triangles.

Oh, and this one’s a beauty, too-  just take in that tobacco hide and bird’s eye trim. I bet the V8 just bellows!

Allora, Italian 80s modernism at its most glorious and infamous. For stout hearts and deep pockets.

[Maserati Club]

Thanks, Jim!

Maserati Official Kubang Video Can Do Anything Except…

by Gunnar Heinrich ::: YouTube ::: Maserati Kubang Video

CORPORATE videos made for internal consumption, you know, the kind that are meant to rally the troops, instill team spirit, inspire, seize the day et al., generally speaking, suck. These ugly bastards of the moving medium generally succeed at nothing but inspire apathy from impassive viewers. But for Maserati, the Trident, that towering if imperfect icon of Italian motoring at its decadent best, this video showcasing the new Kubang is…

Kuh-Bang! Maserati’s SUV Takes A Bow. Why Not?

by Gunnar Heinrich ::: img Maserati ::: Maserati Kubang 

PERHAPS I’m in an especially empathetic mood today. There was a time that the mere concept – yes, concept, let alone plan – to build a Maserati sport utility vehicle based upon the underpinnings of a Jeep Grand Cherokee would have, well, sent the rev gauge needle past the limit.

Today, it’s different and here’s why…

What Precisely Is On The Hood Of This Maserati?

by Gunnar Heinrich ::: img Maserati ::: Maserati GranTurismo MC

MASERATI recently announced pricing details for the company’s righteous GranTurismo MC and GranTurismo Convertible Sport ($147,500 and $149,800, respectively). Maserati also released some tantalizing shots of the new tridents, however, this one in particular perked my interest for another reason.

What exactly is on the hood of the above GT MC? The driver seems to be well aware of it. Is it some kind of sensor – for speed? Airflow? Or something else. Does anyone know the actual name of the instrument in question? Brownie points for anyone who can come up with the answer.

*Update * A commentator suggests – with probable accuracy – that the alien object is a GoPro Camera

Maserati of Manhattan

Maserati Will Bottle New SUV In USA

by Gunnar Heinrich ::: img Maserati ::: Maserati Kubang Concept

ON again, off again, on again.

No, we’re not talking Alfa Romeo pondering a US comeback. It seems like Maserati brass couldn’t dither long enough about selling an SUV. Well, the prevarication is behind them. According to the WSJ, in 2013 Maserati’s not only set to sell an SUV, possibly called “Kubang,” as part of a US-led growth strategy, but base said Kubang on the Jeep Grand Cherokee platform and build said SUV alongside Jeeps and Durangos at Chrysler’s Jefferson North plant in Detroit.

You know, it’s kind of like marketing “rich, authentic Italian pasta sauce” and reading on the back label that the stuff was bottled in Hackensack, New Jersey.

Maserati Will Gladly Take Back & Recycle Your Old Quattroporte

by Gunnar Heinrich ::: img Maserati S.p.A. ::: End of Life Cars

HAD a neighbor in D.C. who drove the very same Quattroporte you see above – right down to the olive exterior finish. The old Maser seemed endowed with the hulking dimensions of a P40 and you could hear that 300 horsepower V8 pushrod its way ’round Washington Circle from two blocks away.

Every time I saw it, I couldn’t help but marvel at this one saloon’s quarter century of service. Knowing how Maseratis of a certain Go-Go era were anything but long-lived or reliable, I wondered how much longer could the Italian  last before succumbing to the fatal kiss of that last four-digit invoice from some backwater Alfa mechanic.

Thanks to government prodding, Maserati’s now in the business of wondering the same thing.

Maserati is Playing With Fire

by Gunnar Heinrich ::: img Maserati | Autoblog ::: Maserati “baby Quattroporte”

OR maybe Maserati’s being unwillingly pushed closer to the fire pit by callous Fiat bosses looking out for the bottom line. Either way, the latest news from Maserati regarding product coming down Modena’s pike isn’t encouraging.

There’s been talk of a”baby Quattroporte” and “baby GranTurismo” that in the next two to four years will play happy encore roles to the 1980s Biturbo generation and act as a brand extension bridge between Alfa Romeo’s top end and Maserati’s sub-€100K bottom.

All that would be fine except Fiat is going to have the baby Masers use the same platform as the 2012 Chrysler 300C (below).

History’s iPod has an insipid repeat mode for the worst tracks. Anyone remember the Chrysler TC by Maserati? Bad as that badge engineered bastardization was, this time, there’s a new twist.

In a hey-they’re-doing-it-too pass straight from the Jaguar playbook, Maserati will offer a twin-turbo, 400 horsepower V6 diesel engine co-developed with ChryCo. The catche of premium performance and the economy of diesel mix about as well as e85 and brake fluid. And so much for trickle-down Ferrari magic.

Somebody’s going to get burnt by a smoldering trident.