I agree "cheapen" is a tough word to define and many times perception is the reality. And I think we will see it get a little worse before it gets better.
The new generation of Ghibli has some nice technologies like the AWD, Ferrari produced V6 twin turbo (especially S/SQ4 version), 8 speed transmission and that exotic Maserati look at a lower price point than the balance of the portfolio. Option it up and you can approach $100K out the door ... squarely nearing the price point of 1-2 year old QP / QP GTS / GT-S/MC.
I walked in fully intentioned to drive away with a 1 yr old GT-S blu oceano ... instead I decided to max out a new Ghibli SQ4 for the AWD feature, updated electronics and the illusion that it is a more practical car and I could drive in the winter. Not ... at least for me, but others do.
Where the Ghibli creates the cheapening IMO ...
* Mass produced versus the older hand made platforms, (but looks like all will move this way eventually).
* You can feel it is not as a solid as the GT-S, (and the new QP SQ4 seems to be lighter like the Ghibli).
* MY14 (and some MY15) generation quality is questionable and inconsistent. Especially the all the software updates.
* Heavy discounting to move stock, some cannibalization of existing Maserati range.
* Discounted / Depreciated "used" low mileage Ghibli's at $60K ... are those buyers remorse vehicles or problem children? That will fall into a lower price point entry for some.
* Large amount of inexperienced new dealers added to network so service is inconsistent dealer to dealer.
* Maserati not prepared to handle the large amount of Ghibli's sold and all the service campaigns to correct the MY 2014 which essentially used the consumer to lead the pilot.
* You will see more Ghibli's produced and consequently show more in the bigger cities over the few QP and GT today. I see few Maserati's in my area today but expect that will change. A new Maserati dealership (opened 1/2015) took 2nd place in regional luxury performance car unit sales YTD ... so there is definite "year one" interest in the exotic Maserati.
But there is a light at the end of the tunnel ... (and hopefully it's not a train coming).
I've had an excellent experience with my SQ4 and one of the lucky ones. A few enhancements really unleashed its hidden potential.
There is a great group of folks who own the Ghibli so engagement is high, (as seen on Ghibli forum). I've meet a good group of folks who are trying out Maserati for the first time.
The Ghibli could be the entry point for new buyers to trade-up into the more exclusive existing or new Maserati's ... which would help Maserati justify the higher range. Like others have suggested on this thread.
If my experience continues positive with Maserati/Ghibli, I could easily see me pass this one to my wife, (for AWD practicality) and get the 2015/2016 GT-MC or future Alfieri V8 for the added fun factor.