Maserati (Italian pronunciation: [mazeˈraːti]) is an Italianluxury vehicle manufacturer established on 1 December 1914, in Bologna. The Maserati tagline is “Luxury, sports and style cast in exclusive cars”, and the brand’s mission statement is to “Build ultra-luxury performance automobiles with timeless Italian style, accommodating bespoke interiors, and effortless, signature sounding power”.
The company’s headquarters are now in Modena, and its emblem is a trident. It has been owned by the Italian-American car giant Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and FCA’s Italian predecessor Fiat S.p.A. since 1993. Maserati was initially associated with Ferrari S.p.A., which was also owned by FCA until being spun off in 2015, but more recently it has become part of the sports car group including Alfa Romeo and Abarth (see section below). In May 2014, due to ambitious plans and product launches, Maserati sold a record of over 3,000 cars. This caused them to increase production of the Quattroporte and Ghibli models. In addition to the Ghibli and Quattroporte, Maserati offers the Maserati GranTurismo, the GranTurismo Convertible, and has confirmed that it will be offering the Maserati Levante, the first Maserati SUV, in 2016, and the Maserati Alfieri, a new 2+2 in 2016. Maserati is placing a production output cap at 75,000 vehicles globally.
The Maserati brothers, Alfieri, Bindo, Carlo, Ettore, and Ernesto were all involved with automobiles from the beginning of the 20th century. Alfieri, Bindo and Ernesto built 2-litre Grand Prix cars for Diatto. In 1926, Diatto suspended the production of race cars, leading to the creation of the first Maserati and the founding of the Maserati marque. One of the first Maseratis, driven by Alfieri, won the 1926 Targa Florio. Maserati began making race cars with 4, 6, 8 and 16 cylinders (two straight-eights mounted parallel to one another).1921 Diatto 20 DA Torpedo
The trident logo of the Maserati car company is based on the Fountain of Neptune in Bologna‘s Piazza Maggiore. In 1920, one of the Maserati brothers, artist Mario, used this symbol in the logo at the suggestion of family friend Marquis Diego de Sterlich. It was considered particularly appropriate for the sports car company due to fact that Neptune represents strength and vigour; additionally the statue is a characteristic symbol of the company’s original home city.
Alfieri Maserati died in 1932, but three other brothers, Bindo, Ernesto and Ettore, kept the firm going, building cars that won races.
In 1937, the remaining Maserati brothers sold their shares in the company to the Adolfo Orsi family, who in 1940, relocated the company headquarters to their home town of Modena, where it remains to this day. The brothers continued in engineering roles with the company. Racing successes continued, even against the giants of German racing, Auto Union and Mercedes. In back-to-back wins in 1939 and 1940, a1938 Maserati 8CTF won the Indianapolis 500, the only Italian manufacturer ever to do so.
The war then intervened, Maserati abandoned car making to produce components for the Italian war effort. During this time, Maserati worked in fierce competition to construct a V16 town car for Benito Mussolini before Ferry Porsche of Volkswagen built one for Adolf Hitler. This failed, and the plans were scrapped. Once peace was restored, Maserati returned to making cars; theMaserati A6 series did well in the post-war racing scene.
Key people joined the Maserati team. Alberto Massimino, an old Fiat engineer, with both Alfa Romeo and Ferrari experiences oversaw the design of all racing models for the next ten years. With him joined engineers Giulio Alfieri, Vittorio Bellentani, and Gioacchino Colombo. The focus was on the best engines and chassis to succeed in car racing. These new projects saw the last contributions of the Maserati brothers, who after their 10-year contract with Orsi expired went on to form O.S.C.A.. This new team at Maserati worked on several projects: the
the A6 series, the1950 8CLT, and, pivotally for the future success of the company,
Maserati retired from factory racing participation because of the Guidizzolo tragedy during the 1957 Mille Miglia, though they continued to build cars for privateers. Maserati became more and more focused on building road-going grand tourers.
The 1957 Maserati 3500 GT marked a turning point in the marque’s history, as its first ground-up grand tourer design and first series produced car. Production jumped from a dozen to a few hundreds cars a year. Chief engineer Giulio Alfieri took care of the project, and turned the 3.5 L inline-six engine from the 350S into a road engine. First launched with a 2+2 coupé aluminium body over Carrozzeria Touring‘s superleggera structure, a steel-bodied short wheelbase Vignale 3500 GT Convertibile open top version followed in 1960. The 3500 GT’s success, with over 2200 made, was critical to Maserati’s survival in the years that followed the withdrawal from racing.
The 3500 GT also provided the underpinnings for the
small-volume V8-engined 5000 GT, another seminal car for Maserati. Born from the Shah of Persia‘s whim of owning a road car powered by the Maserati 450S racing engine, it became one of the fastest and most expensive cars of its days. From the third to the thirty-fourth and last example produced it housed Maserati’s first ever road-going V8 engine design.
In 1962, the 3500 GT was evolved into the Sebring, bodied by Vignale and based on the Convertibile short chassis. Next, camethe two-seater Mistral coupé in 19631964 Maserati Mistral Spyder and Spider in 1964, both six-cylinder powered and designed by Pietro Frua.
Also in 1963, the company’s first saloon car arrived,the Maserati Quattroporte, designed by Frua as well. If the 5000 GT inaugurated the marque’s first road-going V8, the Quattroporte’s Tipo 107 4.2-litre DOHC V8 was the forefather of all Maserati V8s up to 1990.
The Ghia-designed Ghibli coupé was launched in 1967. It was powered by a 4.7L, dry sump version of Maserati’s quad cam V8. The Ghibli Spyder and 4.9-litre Ghibli SS followed.
In 1968, Maserati was taken over by French car manufacturer Citroën. Adolfo Orsi remained the nominal president, but Maserati changed a great deal. The relationship with Citroën started as a joint venture, made public in January 1968, in which Maserati would design and manufacture an engine for an upcoming Citroën flagship car, the Citroën SM. Launched in 1970, the SM was a four-seater front-wheel-drive coupé, powered by a Maserati Tipo C114 2.7 L 90° V6 engine. The V6 Maserati engine and its associated gearbox have been used in other vehicles such as Special Rally prepared Citroën DS, as used by Bob Neyret in Bandama Rally, and in the Ligier JS 2.
With secure financial backing, new models were launched, and built in much greater numbers than before. Citroën borrowed Maserati expertise and engines for the Citroën SM and other vehicles, and Maseratis also incorporated Citroën technology, particularly in hydraulics. Engineer Giulio Alfieri was key to many of the ambitious designs of this period.
The first new arrival was the 1969 Maserati Indy—a Vignale-designed four seater GT with a traditional V8 drivetrain, which was produced in over 1100 units.
In 1971, the Maserati Bora, was the first series production mid-engined Maserati, an idea agreed with Maserati administrator Guy Malleret shortly after the 1968 takeover. The Bora ended Maserati’s reputation for producing fast, but technologically out of date cars, being the first Maserati with four wheel independent suspension. In contrast, competitor Lamborghini had independent suspension in 1964.
In 1972, fitting a Tipo 114 SM-derived V6 enlarged to 3.0-litre into the Bora produced theMaserati Merak.
To power this large car, Alfieri developed a V8 engine from the SM V6 with 260 PS (190 kW; 260 bhp) and fitted it to a lightly modified SM, proving that the chassis could easily handle the power increase. Citroën’s and Maserati’s financial difficulties hampered the type homologation process; the development costs for the stillborn saloon further aggravated Maserati’s situation. Only a dozen Quattroporte IIs were ever produced, all with the V6.
a front-engined grand tourer that introduced in 1972 and produced from 1974; it married the traditional Maserati V8 GT layout with modern independent suspension, unibody construction and refined Citroën technologies such as DIRAVI power steering.
Meanwhile, the 1973 oil crisis put the brakes on this ambitious expansion; demand for fuel-hungry sports cars shrank drastically. Austerity measures in Italy meant that the domestic market contracted by 60-70%. All of the main Italian GT car manufacturers were damaged, having to lay off workers in order to empty lots of unsold cars. Maserati received the hardest blow, as its home market sales accounted for over half of the total—in contrast, for example, with Ferrari‘s 20%. In this situation, the only Maserati that continued to sell in appreciable numbers was the smaller engined Merak.
In 1974, the 1973–75 recession at its climax, things took a turn for the worse. Citroën went bankrupt and its incorporation into PSA Peugeot Citroën begun. The year closed with domestic sales tumbling from 1973’s 360 to 150 units, and losses exceeding the share capital.
On 22 May 1975, a press release from the Citroën management announced all of a sudden that Maserati had been put into liquidation. The workforce immediately picketed the factory, but production was not halted. Trade unions, the mayor of Modena and local politicians mobilised to save the 800 jobs; industry ministerCarlo Donat-Cattin even flew to Paris to meet Citroën chairman Francois Rollier. An agreement was reached in June, after several meetings and assemblies. During one of these meetings, Citroën liquidators disclosed that a possible Italian buyer had showed up, and the name of de Tomaso was put forth for the first time. Citroën accepted to suspend liquidation as requested by the Italian government, which on its part guaranteed six months of special redundancy fund to pay the salaries.
De Tomaso era
On 8 August 1975, an agreement was signed at the Ministry of Industry in Rome, and property of Maserati passed from Citroën to Italian state-owned holding companyGEPI and Alejandro de Tomaso, an Argentinianindustrialist and former racing driver, who became president and CEO. As of December 1979, GEPI’s quota amounted to 88.75% of Maserati, the remaining 11.25% being controlled by De Tomaso through an holding which grouped his automotive interests in Maserati and Innocenti. Beginning in 1976, new models were introduced, sharing their underpinnings—but not their engines—with De Tomaso cars; first came the Kyalami grand tourer, derived from the De Tomaso Longchamp restyled by Frua and powered by Maserati’s V8. Following wasthe Italdesign Giugiaro-designed third generation Quattroporte, introduced in 1976 and put on sale in 1979. Bora sales dwindled down; Khamsin was discontinued between 1982 and 1983. Progressively stripped of its Citroën-derived parts, the Merak continued to sell over one hundred pieces a year, until 1982.
The 1980s saw the company largely abandoning the mid-engined sports car in favour of a compact front-engined, rear-drivecoupé, the Maserati Biturbo. Of fairly conventional construction, the Biturbo’s pleasure and pain was its twin-turbochargedV6 engine, the first ever in a production car. This engine, descending from Alfieri’s 90° V6, was fitted in a large number of models, all sharing key components; every new Maserati launched up to the 1990s would derive from the Biturbo. The Biturbo family was extremely successful at exploiting the aspirational image of the Maserati name—selling 40,000 units.
During 1984, Chrysler bought a 5% share in the new company. Following an agreement between De Tomaso’s friend and Chrysler head Lee Iacocca, a joint venture was signed. Maserati would produce a car for export to the American market, the Chrysler TC by Maserati, with Chrysler-sourced engines. In July of that same year, a merger between Maserati and Nuova Innocenti was decided; it was carried out in 1985. Chrysler upped its stake to 15.6% by underwriting three quarters of a 75 billion Lire capital raise in 1986.
New Biturbo-based cars and model evolutions were launched year after year. In 1984, it was the 228, a large coupé built on the long wheelbase saloon chassis, with a new 2.8 L version of the twin-turbo V6. WeberFuel injection was phased in starting in 1986, bringing improved reliability and a host of new model variants. The same year, the ageing third generation Quattroporte was updated as the luxurious Maserati Royale, built to order in an handful of examples a year; its discontinuation in 1990 marked the disappearance of Maserati’s four-cam V8 engine, a design that could trace its roots back to the 450S racer and the legendary 5000 GT. In 1987, the 2.8-litre 430 topped the saloon range. 1988 brought the Maserati Karif 2.8-litre two-seater, based on the short wheelbase Spyder chassis. Meanwhile, the Biturbo name was dropped altogether, as updated coupés and saloons were updated became the 222 and 422. 1989 marked the reintroduction of an eight-cylinder grand tourer: the Maserati Shamal, built on a modified short wheelbase Biturbo bodyshell, clad in new muscular bodywork by Marcello Gandini. It was powered by an all-new twin-turbo 32-valve V8 engine paired to a 6-speed gearbox. Two-litre, 24-valve engines also debuted.
De Tomaso-Fiat years
In October 1989, De Tomaso bought the remaining Gepi quota. In December, Fiat entered in Maserati’s history. Maserati and Innocenti were separated; Innocenti Milano S.p.A., the company that sold Innocenti cars, continued its business under a 51% Fiat Auto ownership. All of the Modena and Lambrate plants went to a newly created company, the still extant Maserati S.p.A.; 49% of it was owned by Fiat Auto and 51% was controlled by De Tomaso through the old company, Officine Alfieri Maserati.
In the early Nineties, a mid-engined sports car was developed, the Maserati Chubasco—which was to début in 1992. It featured Gandini-designed body, a V8 powertrain and a backbone chassis. The project was cancelled, as it proved too expensive. Starting in 1990, the entire range received a facelift by Marcello Gandini, on the lines of the Shamal’s styling. The last version of the Biturbo coupé proper was called Maserati Racing. It was a transitional model in which several features to be found on the upcoming Ghibli were tested.
The Maserati Ghibli was introduced in 1992. It was a six-cylinder coupé, with modified Biturbo underpinnings dressed by new Gandini bodywork (toned down from the Shamal) and the latest evolution of the 24-valve twin-turbo V6 with record breaking specific output. The underpinnings of the stillborn Chubasco gave birth to the Maserati Barchetta, a small open top mid-engine sports car styled by Synthesis Design (Carlo Gaino). A one-make racing series was held in 1992 and 1993, using the Barchetta Corsa racing version; the road-going Barchetta Stradale was never put into production. Just 17 Barchetta examples were produced. Between 1992 and 1994 all models save for the Ghibli and Shamal were progressively discontinued.
On 19 May 1993, 17 years after having rescued it from liquidation, Alejandro De Tomaso sold its 51% stake in Maserati to Fiat, which became the sole owner. Substantial investments were made in Maserati, and it has since undergone something of a renaissance.
In 1998, a new chapter began in Maserati’s history when the company launched the 3200 GT. This two-door coupé is powered by a 3.2 L twin-turbocharged V8 derived from the Shamal engine, which produces 370 hp (276 kW).
Over two decades after the ill-fated Chrysler TC by Maserati during Chrysler’s brief ownership stake in Maserati, the two companies became interconnected again when Fiat purchased majority control of Chrysler in 2011 as a result of Chrysler’s bankruptcy.
In July 1997, Fiat sold a 50% share in the company to Maserati’s long-time arch-rival Ferrari (Ferrari itself being owned by Fiat). In 1999, Ferrari took full control, making Maserati its luxury division. A new factory was built, replacing the existing 1940s-vintage facility. Ferrari is credited for bringing Maserati back into business, after many lacklustre years of Maserati teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.
Meanwhile, two new models have been shown to the public: the MC12 road supersports and successful GT racer with a Ferrari Enzo–derived chassis and engine and the new Quattroporte, a high luxury saloon with the 4.2l V8 engine. Nowadays, Maserati is back in business and successfully selling on a global basis. In 2001, Ferrari decided to throw away all the old tooling and installed high-tech devices in the Modena factory, making it one of the most advanced in the world.
Since early 2002, Maserati once again entered the United States market, which has quickly become for Maserati the largest market worldwide. The company has also re-entered the racing arena with their Trofeo and, in December 2003, the Maserati MC12 (formerly known as the MCC), which was developed according to FIA GT regulations and has since competed with great success in the world FIA GT championship, winning the teams championship three consecutive times from 2005 to 2007. The MC12 has also been raced in various national GT championship as well as in the American Le Mans series. The MC12 is based on the Enzo Ferrari sports car; 50 street-legal homologation models (roadsters and coupés) have been sold for about US$700,000 each.
The Maserati and Alfa Romeo Group under Fiat Group
The Maserati and Alfa Romeo group, under Fiat Group, started in 2005, when Maserati was split off from Ferrari and partnered with Alfa Romeo. On 9 June 2005 the 20,000th Maserati, a Quattroporte, left the factory. In the second quarter of 2007, Maserati made profit for the first time in 17 years under Fiat ownership.
On January 22, 2010, Fiat announced that it had created a new partnership/brand group for Alfa Romeo, Maserati, and Abarth. The group was led by Harald J. Wester, the current CEO of Maserati. Sergio Marchionne said that “[the] purpose of bringing the Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Abarth brands under the same leadership is to emphasize and leverage the value of the shared qualities of the three brands in terms of their sporting characteristics and performance.” Abarth stayed under Wester’s leadership until 2013, leaving Maserati and Alfa Romeo in the brand group, led by Wester. Although Maserati and Alfa Romeo are in a brand group, Alfa Romeo is structured under FCA Italy S.p.A., which itself is structured under FCA, whereas Maserati is structured solely under FCA. In addition, in an interview with Wester in 2015, he clarified that his “role at Maserati is different from that in the Alfa Romeo as the latter is better integrated into the Fiat Group” and that “the new Alfa car won’t share any parts with the current Maserati model. I’m not planning any technical merging of these two makes.”
In 2013, Maserati started its expansion with the sixth-generation Maserati Quattroporte, which was designed to better compete with the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. This was followed by the introduction of the Ghibli, which was slated to compete against the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and BMW 5-series. On May 6, 2014, Maserati confirmed production of the Levante SUV and the Alfieri (previously a 2+2 concept sports car that was named after Alfieri Maserati). At this event, it was revealed that 2014 will be the last year of production for the GranTurismo and GranTurismo Convertible, although production of the GranTurismo was extended until 2016, with a new GranTurismo still being unveiled in 2018. In a 2015 interview, Harald J. Wester said that there was room for a future sports car, positioned above the Alfieri.
Along with their expansion, Maserati started their re-entrance into the high-performance car field, in order to compete with brands such as Mercedes-AMG, BMW M, Porsche, Jaguar, and in certain cases, Ferrari. This is being done with Maseratis that have higher output engines, higher performance components, and better handling. The fastest Maserati Alfieri will be receiving a 520 bhp (388 kW; 527 PS) V6 with all-wheel drive, while the Quattroporte, Ghibli, and Levante are receiving 560 bhp (418 kW; 568 PS) V8s in the future with all-wheel drive, in order to better compete with their respective AMGs, M cars, Jaguars, and Porsches. The Maserati Alfieri will be competitive against the Mercedes-AMG GT, Porsche 911, Jaguar F-Type R, and even the Ferrari California T in terms of performance. The replacement for the GranTurismo, to be presented in 2018, will have a 560 bhp (418 kW; 568 PS) V8. The high performance all wheel drive version of the Ghibli (as mentioned above) will likely wear a GTS badge. For the Quattroporte, this will be a replacement for the GTS version (with increased power and all wheel drive, as mentioned above).
In addition, Harald J. Wester stated that Maserati is experimenting with plug-in hybrid powertrains, and that one will be offered in the second half of 2017 in the Levante SUV. By 2018, the base Ghibli will receive a performance upgrade 350 bhp (261 kW; 355 PS), and the Ghibli S Q4 to 450 bhp (336 kW; 456 PS).
The 2014 Maserati lineup, as shown at the 100th Year Anniversary in Autoworld Brussels From left to right: Maserati GranCabrio Sport, Maserati Ghibli III and Maserati Quattroporte Series VI
Maserati sales in 2013 were 15,400 units, which is up from just over 6,000 units worldwide in 2012 (2013 included the release of the new Quattroporte and Ghibli towards the end of the year, and thus the first year to fully represent the sales inclusive of these models is 2014). In May, 2014, Maserati sold a company record of over 3,000 cars worldwide, causing them to increase production of the Ghibli and Quattroporte. For that same month in the United States, Maserati sold 1,114 vehicles, which is up 406.19% over the same month in the previous year in the United States. Maserati’s best month of sales in the United States was September 2014, with 1,318 units sold. The month in 2014 where the increase on sales for the same month of the previous year was the highest was May, with a volume increase of 406.19%. The sales target for 2018 is 75,000 units worldwide.
2014 marked an historic record of 13,411 total units sold in North America for the year, a 169% increase versus 2013, boasting the highest-ever overall sales year for Maserati North America, Inc. Worldwide, in 2014 Maserati sold about 36,500 cars, a 136% increase over 2013. Harald J. Wester stated that Maserati will not surpass the 70,000 sales per year mark, and that Maserati will maintain its current position in the higher end of the luxury sports car market, not expanding downmarket and making vehicles smaller and less expensive than the Ghibli and Levante (such as those similar to the Audi Q5 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class), as other FCA brands, specifically Alfa Romeo, are or will be in those market spaces.
Since 2009, Marco Tencone (born 1967) has been the head designer of Maserati cars.
Italian for “four-door,” the Maserati Quattroporte is a sportingluxury saloon. The sixth generation Maserati Quattroporte was introduced in 2013. The Quattroporte is currently available in S Q4, GTS and Diesel trim. The S Q4 has an advanced four wheel drive system, and a 404-horsepower twin-turbo V6. The GTS is rear wheel drive, and has a 523-horsepower V8. A Quattroporte Diesel model is offered on selected markets, making 275 horsepower (250 hp in Italy) and 442 ft-lbs of torque. The sixth-generation Quattroporte has grown in size in order to better compete with the roomier luxury saloons like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
By 2018, the Quattroporte S Q4 will be upgraded to produce 450 bhp (336 kW; 456 PS) from its V6, and the GTS to produce 560 bhp (418 kW; 568 PS) horsepower from its V8, both with all-wheel drive (for the V8 to increase performance).
The first presentation of this car was on 20 April 2013 in Shanghai. It is a sporting/luxury executive saloon that competes against the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes E-Class or Audi A6. This new model is expected to be key in order to reach the ambitious target sales of 50,000 cars a year by 2015, and 75,000 by 2018. The car, along with the new Quattroporte, is built in the Italian factory of Grugliasco, Turin (former Bertone). The base Ghibli comes with 330 horsepower, the Ghibli Diesel with 275 horsepower (also 250 in Italy only), and the Ghibli S Q4 with 410 horsepower. By 2018, the base Ghibli will have 350 horsepower, the S Q4 450 horsepower, and a higher performance version (likely GTS) which will have 560 bhp (418 kW; 568 PS) and all-wheel drive.
The Maserati GranTurismo is a grand tourer introduced in 2007. The GranTurismo has a 4.7-litre V8, making 454 bhp (339 kW; 460 PS) in Sport form and MC form. A convertible (GranCabrio) version is also available in standard, Sport, and MC form. The final production year for the Maserati GranTurismo is scheduled to be 2014, but it will be revived in 2018 with a 560 bhp (418 kW; 568 PS) V8, again in rear wheel drive form.
The Maserati Levante is a crossover SUV due to be released in 2014. It has been anticipated with the Maserati Kubang concept SUV in September 2003 at the Frankfurt Motor Show and again in 2011. It was announced, at the Paris Motor Show held in Paris in September 2012. The Levante will be assembled in Mirafiori Plant, in Turin. It was confirmed on May 6, 2014. The Levante 3.0L V6 will be offered in either 350 or 425 horsepower states of tune, with a 3.8L V8 producing 560 bhp (418 kW; 568 PS) down the road, due in 2018. All models will have all-wheel drive.
The Maserati Alfieri was a concept 2+2 presented at the Geneva Motor Show in 2014. The concept was based off the lighter chassis of the GranTurismo MC Stradale, although it had a shorter wheelbase. The concept was introduced with a 4.7 liter V8 producing 460 bhp (343 kW; 466 PS).
The Alfieri was confirmed for production in 2016 at a Fiat Chrysler Automobiles event on May 6, 2014. The production version will receive three different V6 engine choices, producing 410 bhp (306 kW; 416 PS), 450 bhp (336 kW; 456 PS), and 520 bhp (388 kW; 527 PS), respectively. The 450 horsepower and 520 horsepower versions will only have an all-wheel drive system. The Alfieri will be joined by an Alfieri convertible in 2017.
Maserati developed fifteen GranTurismo MC racecars, homologated for the European Cup and National Endurance Series, one of which was raced by GT motorsport organization Cool Victory in Dubai in January, 2010.