Auto blogSat, 30 Nov 2013
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has crash-tested the 2014 Maserati Ghibli, and the Italian luxury sedan scored has well enough to earn the institute's Top Safety Pick rating. The model netted "Good" marks - the IIHS' highest rating - in moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints and seats tests.
The new Maserati is equipped seven airbags and features strategic use of hot-formed steel to optimize vehicle strength for safety and aluminum to lower weight for better driving performance. While it still pains us to see two new Maseratis smashed to smithereens (watch the videos below), we imagine the company's well-heeled prospective owners will feel better about their $65,600+ purchases knowing that they aced the tests.
Head on below to see crash test videos from both the IIHS and Europe's NCAP, as well as for Maserati's official release, which covers some of the safety engineering that has gone into its new entry-level sedan.
We enjoy it when Jay Leno and his web show, Jay Leno's Garage, take a look at new, modern cars. When the comedian gets his paws on a proper classic, though, he's at his best. Leno is able to display an impressive breadth of knowledge about even obscure models, and that's no different here, as the winner of its class at the 2011 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, a 1956 Maserati A6G-2000 Allemano rolls into the garage.
Part of the Maserati A6 family, this A6G is one of just 21 cars produced with coachwork by Carrozzeria Allemano, making it one of the rarer cars to grace Jay Leno's Garage. It's powered by a 2.0-liter inline-six, and, as Leno points out, is far more of a road car than the race-oriented Maseratis of the day.
Scroll down for the latest episode from Jay Leno's Garage on this fully restored 1956 Maserati.
There's been a bit of a shakeup among the executive ranks at Chrysler and Maserati, as the Italian sports car manufacturer has appointed Peter Grady as its new North American CEO. Grady, who we imagine is about to get a very nice upgrade to his company car, will retain his role as vice president of dealer network development for Chrysler and Chrysler Capital, and is replacing Bob Graczyk at Maserati.
"It is with pleasure and anticipation that I welcome Peter to Maserati. He brings to our company nearly 30 years of leadership and experience. His background and industry expertise will be a great basis for the continued expansion of Maserati in North America," said Maserati CEO Harald Wester in a statement.
Also joining the team at Maserati is Saad Chehab, who previously worked for the Chrysler and Lancia brands and will be the new head of marketing for the Italian brand. He'll be replaced by Al Gardner, the former boss of Chrysler's southeast business center, as the head of Chrysler brand, according to Automotive News.
Last year when Maserati revealed a plan to sell 50,000 units globally by 2015, it seemed like a pretty steep goal for an automaker that had sold just 6,300 units for the entire year. It turns out that goal may be a little on the conservative side. Through September, Automotive News Europe says the Italian automaker has already racked up 22,500 orders mainly on the backs of the redesigned Quattroporte and the all-new Ghibli, and there are still more new products in the pipeline.
Back in August, we heard that demand in China was playing a strong role in Maserati's big numbers in 2013, and this doesn't even include the upcoming Levante SUV, which Maserati CEO Harald Wester expects to add as many as 25,000 units to the mix when it goes on sale in 2015. According to the ANE report, the Quattroporte is still the most popular model with almost 10,000 orders so far this year, while the smaller and more affordable Ghibli is performing quite well with almost 8,000 orders; the aging, but soon-to-be-replaced, GranTurismo models have about 5,000 orders.
You know what no one has ever said? The Maserati Quattroporte needs more Italian style. Just the same, Maserati has teamed up with Ermenegildo Zegna to give the QP just that.
Revealed here at the Frankfurt Motor Show is the (deep breath now) Maserati Quattroporte Ermenegildo Zegna Limited Edition Concept. And by "concept", Maserati means it intends to put it into production, likely with very few tweaks over what you see here.
So what do you see here? A QP in a business suit, to sum it up. It's got a beautifully deep bronze paintjob and an interior with the finest wool textile and soft leather upholstery. The lustrous paint repeats on the wheel spokes, and of course some discreet Zegna badges inside and out. The fashion house also worked up some special fitted luggage, as you can see from our gallery of high-resolution photos from the show floor, along with the stock shots, a video and a press release below.
Back in April, Maserati announced a new partnership with men's clothier Ermenegildo Zegna. We wondered at the time how a Maserati could possibly get any more stereotypically Italian stylish, but now the Modenese automaker is presenting the answer in this fresh take on the new Quattroporte.
When the doors open at the Frankfurt Motor Show next week, Maserati will unveil the Quattroporte Ermenegildo Zegna Limited Edition concept car. That's their name, not ours, and if you're wondering how a production vehicle could be turned at once into both a concept and a limited edition, well... we don't know, either. Maserati says that it previews a production version to follow next year.
So, confusing nomenclature aside, what are we looking at here? For starters, there's a special platinum-color paint finish with tiny aluminum flecks and a gloss-black primer to give it that extra-deep luster. And the interior has been upholstered in "moka" and "greige," with leather seats, door panels and headliner and other surfaces finished in Zegna's own textiles.
In July Fiat halted its investments in Italy, putting on hold plans for the Maserati Levante SUV to be built at the automaker's flagship factory in Turin. But Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne, whose company owns Maserati, met with unions on Wednesday, and he may announce plans to move forward with production of the SUV at the Mirafiori factory if the CEO and the unions reach an agreement, Bloomberg reports.
Marchionne is reportedly about ready to build new cars at Fiat's largest and oldest factory, on the grounds that 5,300 workers accept extended temporary layoffs through most of next year in a slowing European auto market. If unions don't accept the deal, it's not clear whether Fiat would still consider building the Levante at Mirafiori or not.
The Levante, Maserati's first SUV, is based on the Jeep Grand Cherokee platform, and we reported two years ago that it would be built in Detroit next to its Jeep cousin. Obviously those plans have been altered considerably in the intervening period of time.
Considering Maserati sold all of 6,300 cars globally in 2012, its goal of selling 50,000 by 2015 seemed like a bit of a stretch to say the least, but it turns the Fiat-owned automaker was on to something. Reuters is reporting that Maserati has already received about 17,000 orders for cars this year, with help from the new 2014 Quattroporte and strong demand in China.
The US continues to be the top market for Maserati sales, but the report quotes Harald Wester, brand chief executive, as saying that China is now the top market for Quattroporte. As big of an improvement as this is it bears mentioning that the Ghibli isn't even on sale yet and the Levante SUV, a redesigned GranTurismo and a new 911-fighting coupe are still waiting in the pipeline.
Although the Maserati GranTurismo may have looked pretty hot when it hit the scene in 2007, eight years on, it's starting to show its age. Maserati is focusing its attention on the new Quattroporte, Ghibli and upcoming Levante utility vehicle, but Camal Studio is evidently keen to pick up what Maserati has let fall by the wayside.
The design house, as you may recall, was founded by former Pininfarina designers - the same firm that penned the GranTurimso (among other Maseratis) in the first place. Camal calls its redesign the Tributo (a name which should require no translation) and it draws its inspiration from Maserati GTs past like the original Ghibli, Bora and Khamsin. The resulting design comes across as clean enough, but to our eyes somewhat unremarkable. And if you're going to go to the trouble of coachbuilding a Maserati, you might as well go for a bit more visual impact. But that's judging solely from the renderings, and that's just our opinion - the financially well-endowed customers Camal is going after may feel otherwise once they see it in the flesh.
It's a tragic coincidence that on the same weekend the BMW M4 Coupe Concept was introduced in Monterey, one of the men most integral to BMW's M and Motorsports divisions, Karl-Heinz Kalbfell, was killed in England. Kalbfell, a vintage motorcycle enthusiast, was set to compete in the Lansdowne Classic Series at Brands Hatch and had an accident during a practice session. After going wide at Druids Corner and falling, he was hit by a competitor following close behind and died of his injuries after being transported to hospital.
Kalbfell, an engineer, began his career at BMW in 1977 in the communications department; a decade later he was chairman of BMW M GmbH, overseeing development of some of the cars responsible for the myth of M. In 1994 he was named chairman of BMW Motorsport, and his cap full of feathers includes getting the BMW V12 into the McLaren F1, getting the BMW V8 into two Morgan cars, along with developing BMW's Formula One engine and return to the sport. Not incidentally, he also assumed leadership of Project Rolls-Royce after BMW bought the British marque in 1998, which means he oversaw the Goodwood factory upfit and the creation of the Phantom.
He left Rolls-Royce for a brief stint at Fiat, heading Alfa Romeo and Maserati, then went into consulting for clients like Lotus and Paragon, who built the Artega GT. As Autocar notes, Kalbfell "had an abiding sense that customers needed to be attracted to cars by their aura and reputation, not just their engineering." He will be missed.