Auto blogSun, 17 Aug 2014 18:29:00 EST
America, meet the next sports car from Maserati. This is the Alfieri Concept, and it made the trip from Europe to make its US debut during the 2014 Monterey Car Week.
The two-door originally made its debut at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, and has since made an ear-pleasing visit to the UK before it arrived at today's Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
For those that need a refresher, the Alfieri is a 2+2 that will, when it arrives in 2016, be available with a 410-, 450- or 520-horsepower V6, with the latter two power levels coming with an all-wheel-drive system. The Alfieri Coupe will be joined by a convertible in 2017.
Fri, 18 Jul 2014 10:58:00 EST
The Gas Guzzler schedule, with mpg ratings and charges that haven't changed since 1991, lays out which fuel-swillers owe what to Uncle Sam.
I started thinking about the "Gas Guzzler Tax" - considerably less well known as The Energy Tax Act of 1978 - when I was driving Dodge's new Challenger SRT Hellcat last week. Unsurprisingly for a car that can burn 1.5 gallons of gas per minute at max tilt, theoretically able to empty a full tank of premium in about 13 minutes, the Hellcat will be subject to the Gas Guzzler Tax schedule when it goes on sale.
Maserati appears set to take a page out of corporate sibling Ferrari's playbook with the possibility that it may cap global annual output in the coming years. Ferrari announced in 2013 that it would limit itself to 7,000 vehicles a year to maintain exclusivity, and so far, it has stuck to the plan.
According to an unnamed Maserati executive speaking to Reuters, the Italian luxury car maker wants to cap its sales to 75,000 vehicles a year. However, it's hardly there yet. The company doesn't forecast reaching that production benchmark until 2018.
Dave Sullivan, an auto industry analyst for AutoPacific, thinks that limiting sales could be a smart move for Maserati. "If it is profitable at 75,000 and doesn't require a significant investment in capacity to get there, this appears to be sound," he said to Autoblog via email. "Alfa Romeo is intended to be the volume brand and by capping Maserati, it means that even if you opted to buy the 'entry level' Ghibli, you still have a level of exclusivity."
Kenny Rogers' country classic The Gambler is right about two things: you gotta know when to hold'em and know when to fold'em. A former Maserati salesman in Singapore is learning that lesson about when to step away from the table, after being sentenced to 33 months in prison for allegedly gambling away a customer's deposit of 350,000 Singapore dollars ($280,800).
According to Asia One, Allan Tan Buan Yuen was selling a Maserati in 2011. He told the customer that the car would take six months to arrive and cost 650,000 Singapore dollars ($522,000). While that may sound high, cars in the Asian country are notoriously expensive.
Yuen asked for a deposit of 150,000 Singapore dollars ($120,400), but instead of handing the money to the dealer, he placed the funds in his own account. Apparently, the customer didn't notice, and over the next few months Yuen received an additional 200,000 Singapore dollars ($160,400) towards the car from him. Clearly, this ruse couldn't last forever, though. When the buyer eventually inquired about his Maserati months later, Yuen admitted that he had already gambled away the entire fortune.
While Porsche may be relatively new to the four-door game, Maserati has been building the Quattroporte with few interruptions since 1963. But like its rival from Stuttgart, the Trident marque is rapidly shifting from a sports car company primarily to a manufacturer of high-end family transportation. Not only does it have the new Quattroporte on the market, but now it's got the Ghibli sedan as well and the Levante crossover on its way.
It's a gambit that's reaping huge benefits not only for Maserati itself but also for its newly merged parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which is finding the mass market less lucrative than it once was and is positioning both Maserati and Alfa Romeo against other luxury marques like BMW, Audi and Porsche. As a result, Maserati is considerably expanding its production.
Last month, Maserati sold over 3,000 cars, putting it on track to double its sales from 2013. But it's not about to stop there. With growing demand for its authentically Italian luxury sedans, Maserati is shifting more workers to its assembly plant in the Turinese suburn of Grugliasco (where the QP and Ghibli are made) and shortening vacation time to ramp production up from 750 cars per week to 900.
We know that Maserati will eventually bring a version of its Alfieri Concept to the road, as a next-generation production model slated to arrive in 2016. Shown at the Concours d'Elegance at Villa d'Este, the Alfieri wowed spectators with its throaty singing voice, releasing a few barks and a very racy idle note. Sadly, we know it won't sound exactly like this when it goes on sale.
See, Maserati is adopting a V6-only plan with the Alfieri, so the 4.7-liter V8 shown in the concept and adopted from the GranTurismo, isn't going to make be available in the production model. That's not to say the production car will sound bad - we've every reason to believe it won't - but that this isn't an accurate representation of what the 2016 Alfieri will sound like.
Take a listen and a look at the video down below, then hop into Comments and let us know what you think.
This past weekend was Memorial Day weekend, folks, and you know what that means: racing. There was the Monaco Grand Prix for Formula One fans, and back Stateside there was the Indianapolis 500. You might expect to see a name like Maserati pop up at the former more than the latter, but that wasn't always the case.
These days its all about Dallara chassis powered by Chevy or Honda, but over the course of a century there have been plenty of foreign automakers that have won the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. McLaren won it twice in the 1970s, Mercedes and Peugoet won during the race's pre-WWI infancy, and in between them Boyle Racing won it two years in a row with a Maserati chassis and engine.
The car was the Maserati 8CTF "Boyle Special," and its first win came 75 years ago. So to mark the occasion (as well as Maserati's 100th anniversary), the car was brought back to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for a revival lap. Unfortunately Wilbur Shaw, who won the Indy 500 three times (twice in the Maserati) and went on to be president of the speedway, died in a plane crash the day before his 52nd birthday in 1954. So in his place fellow three-time winner Johnny Rutherford took the wheel of the 8CTF in front of the gathered crowds.
Following this week's Fiat Chrysler extravaganza, where the Italian-American manufacturer announced its plans for the next five years, the Autoblog staff was cautiously optimistic of the company's future. Investors? Not so much.
Fiat saw its shares tumble 12 percent in Wednesday's trading, falling from 8.67 euros ($12.06 at today's rates) to 7.44 euros ($10.35) as of this writing, with blame partly going to the Italian half of the FCA marriage, which recorded a pretty significant drop in profits during the first quarter of this year.
The plan, which will cost around $77 billion over the next several years, is facing criticism from investors thanks in part to a 1.4-percent drop in Fiat's first-quarter profits, to 622 million euros ($862 million). That figure is also short of Bloomberg analysts' projections, which predicted $1.18 billion in profits before taxes, interest and one-time items.
Unless you've been living under a rock for the past 24 hours, you've no doubt read about all of the big future product news coming out of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles today. We had individual brand reports from Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Maserati and even Ferrari, but in the interest of simplifying and summarizing, we're going to list out the hard facts once more. Of course, with all of this still off in the future, there's still the possibility that a few changes will be made. But as of what we know right now, here's what's coming, and what's going away.
2014: Refreshed 300/300C, debuting at Los Angeles Auto Show
The Maserati share of the big Fiat Chrysler event today was expected to be something of a snooze, at least relative to the very busy Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Alfa Romeo portions. But the truth is there was plenty to pay attention to where the premium Italian brand was concerned. After all, moving from its 15,400 unit sales in 2013 to a target of 75,000 global sales in 2018 is going to take some doing.
One piece of big news is a shakeup in the existing ranks. 2014 will mark the final year of production for the GranTurismo (and its soft-top counterpart), meaning Maserati will be limited to just its Quattroporte and Ghibli sedans until the Levante SUV arrives in 2015, confirming previous reports. The first SUV to wear the trident, the Levante will only be available with all-wheel drive, but it will boast a Porsche Macan-smiting pair of V6s, with 350 and 425 horsepower, respectively.
Things get back to normal in 2016, as Maserati resumes sports car production with a road-going version of the Alfieri Concept from the 2014 Geneva Motor Show. Again, this is confirmation of a previous report. That car will be joined by a convertible variant in 2017. It seems like Maser is taking aim at, well, everything with the Alfieri, offering a 410-hp, V6-powered variant that dispatches its power to the rear wheels, to go along with 450- and 520-hp versions of the Alfieri's V6 that will only get their power to the road through an all-wheel-drive system.