Maserati shows no fear, launching its new Quattroporte during Europe's car crisis.
Maserati has issued official images of its new Quattroporte ahead of the launch at Detroit motor show.
To Maserati Australia boss Glen Sealey, the new Quattroporte - announced this week - and the mid-size Ghibli and SUV Levante, represent a new dimension for the 98-year old car maker.
"Everything, everything, about the new Quattroporte is new," he says. "We are forecasting up to 1500 sales a year in Australia by 2015/16 - that's enormous growth but it still leaves us as an exclusive marque.'' Maserati in Australia sold 140 cars last year.
Mr Sealey says the new Quattroporte - here in September 2013 - moves more upmarket, while the mid-size Ghibli is expected in Australia early 2014 and then, in 2015, the Levante SUV.
"If you look at Porsche's line-up, then that's a good example of how Maserati is going to market its models,'' he says. The Quattroporte will come first with a high-performance V8 engine that in price and performance would compete around the level of the Porsche Panamera and Panamera Turbo.
"Like the Panamera, we will have a V6 petrol and a diesel.'' He says that while rumours of the Ghibli being a car to take on the BMW 5-Series, the new Maserati is more upmarket. "It will be a performance saloon.There will not be a Ghibli model like the (entry-level) BMW 520i. All will be upmarket models," he says.
The Ghibli will be powered by a V6 petrol and a diesel and, like the new Quattroporte, drive the rear wheels through a Maserati-spec ZF eight-speed automatic transmission. Maserati has no V6 or diesel on its shelves but Mr Sealey insists these engines will be made by the company - and not sourced from elsewhere - by he time the models are ready for production.
"Maserati will not have an outside engine in its cars - it doesn't expect it and the customers certainly don't expect it. So that means Maserati is making its V6 petrol and a diesel.'' Pricing for the new Quattroporte is expected to be similar to the existing model. The Quattroporte - which is bigger than the current model and sits on a new platform - and the Ghibli will be built in Maserati's new factory that was previously owned by Bertone. The factory cost $1.5 billion to buy and refit.
"What other company in Europe is doing that?'' asks Mr Sealey. "That's an indication of the confidence that Maserati has in its future.'' Maserati in Italy goes further. Its CEO, Harald Webster, says it is claiming it is standing "at the edge of an unparalleled strategic and industrial growth that will see our presence in the world rise to 50,000 units a year by 2015.''