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The big IF is whether Ferrari allows Maserati to have a folding hardtop when the Ferrari California is out there. If it is a real Maserati prototype that will be produced, that is one helluva car. Everything I've seen and read prior to this picture lead me to believe it will be a soft top.

Can you imagine if it is real and they make an "S" version with the ability to hear that exhaust with the top down. That would be an incredible car.
 

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All I know about the GranTurismo convertible is that it will retain the 2+2 configuration plus have a soft top. I think a hardtop will be too much of a direct competitor to the California.
 

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I respectfuly disagree

I think the Ferrari California is a different class car than the Maserati, if the Maser went with a 2 seater hard-top convertible. The point being that a 2 seat hard-top convertibel maserati would not take away anything from the ferrari california. 2 different cars at two different price points. The people who buy the california, will also buy the maserati, but the people who would buy the maserati may not necessary be able to afford the california!

Besides, wasn't there news a while back about Maser wanting to create a car that would compete directly with the BWM m3? me thinks a 2 or 4 seater, i.e shorter base GT with a hard-top convertible may do just that!

Just my 2 cents!;)
 

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I think such a car would make sense for Maserati too, but in my experience, Ferrari will be limiting Maserati's flexibility in choosing a product line up.

After the GT convertible, I see a smaller version of the GT coming to market, which may well be a straight 2 seater with perhaps 350hp or so, light bodyweight (I hope!) and a decent pricetag.

Let's see.
 

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one question?

I thought FIAT now owns Ferrari and Maserati! If this is true, wouldn't it be FIAT's dicision as to what direction Maserati goes? I think you can already see that with the GT, new QP's and upcoming GTS. They've uped the anti on the reliability and quality standpoint, continued to maintain design edge, but in the process, slowed the performance stature. As a result they are looking to nab the buyers of the higher end MB and BMW crowd, which at the same time, increased performance figures (thus making it harder for the guy to choose between a maserati and a "black series MB")

Lets face it, maser is still, from a reliability and technology standpoint behind the Germans, defenitly behind the Japanies and a host of others. The only edge it currently has, is body design and production limitations, and its unmatched capacity to create "Soul" in a car. Sure that Ferrari built 4.2 and 4.7 is a thing of beauty, but the new M3 is a beast, and the m6 is no slouch either, so on and so forth!

I think the auto industry has created a monster. Certainly the technology is there for cars to deliever on all fronts and I think Maserati is defenitly feeling the pressure of delievering a quality and reliable product especially after the many not so pleasant stories of the 02-06 coupe/spyder and GS stigma.

With that said, it would be interesting to see how the evolution of modena and next gen Maser will shape up. Till then, enjoy your Maser, because chances are you won't find another one on the road too close to you.. but then again, isn't that the allure? :rolleyes:
 

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Yes Fiat owns most of the shares in Ferrari but Ferrari is run by an independent management team and board of directors. It is Ferrari's know-how, R&D and assembly line that are keeping costs down for Maserati and allowing it to book a profit.


I think Maserati is being pushed into the luxury segment away from the sporty market because of Ferrari (then again, it may be Fiat's decision, I don't know, I can only speculate). Is it a good industrial strategy? Perhaps, given Maserati is actually making money.
Is it good for the fans of the marque? Probably not (as I can tell also from the Italian Maserati forum I peruse), given Maserati's racing and street car pedigree.
 

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Fiat has owned Maserati since the 80's but didn't really start to get it sorted out until it gave control to Ferrari spa which sits outside of Fiat Automobile group. Last year a resurgent Fiat took Maserati out of the Ferrari group and placed it in a new division with Alfa Romeo (hence the reason the 8C was able to be built so quickly). It's more than likely with the current Fiat Auto renaissance under Sergio Marchionne that Maserati will be given greater freedom to develop it's model range if a sound business case can be made. With the California being touted as costing the same or more than the F430 there is plenty of scope for Maserati to occupy the price point of the Porsche 911/Aston V8 Vantage model range without affecting Ferrari. The new CEO of Maserati is a product man who is a friend of Marchionne so that bodes well.

A lot of investment has gone into the Maserati factory to improve product quality and much of this was instigated by Karl Heinz Kalbfell, an ex BMW man who rose through various positions culminating in running the new Rolls Royce operation at Goodwood before going to Maserati. He instilled the importance of getting quality levels right and ensuring suppliers met them. His legacy is evident in the build integrity of the GranTurismo. The cross fertilisation from Ferrari has given Maserati access to good engine technology but Ferrari held back on giving their latest transmission developments hence the less than perfect CambioCorsa box lasting for so long in the 4200. Fiat will ensure faster technology transfer I'm sure as it will benefit both brands through investment costs being recouped quicker across sales of more models. The fact that the GranTurismo S shares gearbox software from the 599 demonstrates this. It's a golden age at Fiat Auto just now with enthusiastic younger management who have worked outside of Italy (a first for senior car execs of Italian car companies where nepotism was rife) and understand that they need to build good quality into cars that still have that all important Italian sole. The success of Audi in achieving these goals at Lamborghini has doubtless been a hugely motivational factor to Marchionne and his team.
 

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My mistake, sorry. You are quite correct about Fiat buying them in '93. For some reason I thought it was earlier. I remember Paolo Cantarella being hailed in a similar fashion to Sergio Marchionne back in the early 90's when as Fiat Auto CEO he to led a recovery through inspired product design using platform sharing to achieve fast development cycles. Doing this he gave us the Fiat Barchetta, Fiat Coupe, Alfa GTV and Spider all using modified Fiat Tipo platforms to bring back some Italian styling flair. He also is credited with creating the lovely and distinctive boomerang tail lights on the 3200 GT which sadly disappeared on the 4200.
 

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I agree with Isuk, I think Maserati will be given more freedom than they have had over the last few years and that this will translate into a more sporting model line up. This is already happening with the introduction of the GT-S and the new QP-S, both of which will appeal to a more sports orientated market and I can see this continuing.

The problem with the current cars is that they are too heavy to give a truly sporting ride but then their design brief was in all liklihood to win sales from BMW and MB, which I believe they have been successful with. In terms of quality I really do not see much difference between the current Maseratis and anything the Germans are offering. I have been fortunate enough to take delivery of a new QP GT-S and have been really impressed with the fit and finish of the car and its general engineering. OK the Germans may have a better Sat-Nav system but short of that there really isn't much that BMW or MB are doing better. The advantage that Maserati has over the Germans, and others for that matter, is that it is able to instill that intangible called "soul" into their cars which takes them to a level well beyond the offering of even the M Series Bimmers and S Series Audis.

Given this I think they have got their strategy right, you need to build a good base of customers who will buy into the whole luxury coupe or saloon market and essentially provide cash flow for the company. Once this is achieved then add models which will appeal to a smaller more sports orientated market but still keep the majority happy who are essentially funding the ability to create a sports line.

I may be wrong but I think there is a golden opportunity for Maserati to create a car along the lines of the Aston Vantage, a smaller more hardcore car than its big brother DB9 which would keep all of the "traditional" Maserati customers happy but at the same time not be in direct competition with Ferrari. I do not think this will be lost on the current management team, lets just hope they have the ability to make it happen.

Cheers

Carl
 

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From a quick comparison of the roof (shutlines, panel depths) and the glass house (location of rear quarter light window) I'd suspect that this car became the California. It would have been a relatively easy reskin as the car was designed to take the same basic V8 engine.

 

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It would seem to me that since Ferrari uses the same company in Germany that makes the SL's tops and these are costly that Ferrari and Maserati will share that top and it's mechanism. Why reinvent the wheel 2X's?

I would not be surprised to see considerable cross platforming on the two vehicles with major differences being exterior sheetmetal mostly.
 

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I don't disagree on the component sharing as that already goes on. I doubt that a folding hardtop will make it onto the GranTurismo though for packaging reasons if it is to remain a true four seater. The trunk on the GT is tiny as it is and there is no room for a hard top AND luggage in there. The California has a high rear end because of this factor. If Maserati do go for a third model line below the GT then a folding hardtop two seat roadster would be an ideal entry level model for the brand and I'd be surprised if such a car did not end up with a V6 engine shared with the forthcoming Alfa 169 but reworked by Maserati with twin turbo's perhaps. Such an engine would make sense with rising fuel prices and increasingly stiff emissions targets. Time will tell which direction they go in and we should start to hear news about the GT convertible as Geneva '09 draws closer in the new year.

As the car in the Autogespot pics is on plain view at some part of the factory it's pretty safe to assume this project is now defunct. Maserati is as good at camouflaging and protecting it's forthcoming models as Ferrari so leaving a development car on virtual public display would not be allowed to happen.
 

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Lets face it, maser is still, from a reliability and technology standpoint behind the Germans, defenitly behind the Japanies and a host of others.
I'd strongly disagree there. I looked at a CLS500 before getting my QP, the CLS I test drove went into limp home mode twice during the test drive, the front parking sensor beeped for no reason, the air con display kept on going dark and the wheels were already rusty on a 3yr old car. A friend who had a SL55 had terrible problems mainly due to the leaking roof (water enters the boot and shorts out all the electrics). Next time you see a 3 series check the hubs and calipers for rust(you'll be shocked).

The info center on the Maser is behind the COMAND of MB, but you know what? When I test drove my QP I never even bothered to check out/switch on the SatNav/Info center as there were many more interesting things going on!
 

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---the CLS I test drove went into limp home mode twice during the test drive, the front parking sensor beeped for no reason, the air con display kept on going dark ---
All understanable issues I have almost identically experienced with my CL500 that's going back to M-B under the lemon law.

I would not take an M-B product if it were given to me.

The Italian cars have issues but I don't think anywhere near what M-B owners experience. Never again for me.

Buy Italian or buy Bentley! (pumping fist in the air)
 

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My SL55 spent more time at the shop than it did with me. I had a more personal relationship with the service guy than my girlfriend. Her words not mine. My Coupe doesn't have anything like the headaches. I also wouldn't take a MB if they paid me.
Buy Italian (double fist pump in air)
 
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