Maserati plans production boost and dealer expansion

Modena, Italy. Maserati hopes to soon significantly increase its sales with the introduction of its new luxury sedan, the Quattroporte.

The Ferrari subsidiary plans to boost production at its Italian factory and to expand its dealer network following the market launch of the Quattroporte.

The Maserati has a top speed of 275 km/h and will cost 99,100 euros.

About 2,000 units of the four-door car will be built in 2004. Maserati plans to double Quattroporte production in 2005.

Maserati also will expand some of its 200 dealerships worldwide and add new dealers.

Maserati has 34 dealers in Germany and 40 in the U.S.A. These two markets currently account for half of Maserati's sales.

There also are Maserati dealers in Switzerland and, since the start of 2004, in France. The French dealership is also responsible for Spain, Portugal and the Benelux countries.

Maserati also is planning to enter the Chinese and eastern European markets. The company is considering opening showrooms in Peking and Moscow.

The Quattroporte is the fifth model generation from the luxury Italian brand.

"Our main targets, besides our regular customers, are AMG and Alpina owners or BMW and Mercedes-Benz owners," said Maserati product marketing boss John Fewings.

Fewings worked for BMW for 16 years and joined Maserati last October.

He believes that Ferrari, Maserati's fifth owner, is achieving success in improving Maserati quality and building on past successes.

"Maserati is a strong brand with a strong future," said Fewings.

The Quattroporte is the only luxury car worldwide that has a drive train with a transaxle layout.

Maserati will launch a successor to its coupe and a new Spyder by the end of 2006.

Both will use the Quattroporte platform.

Maserati sold 3,000 units of its two-door coupe last year. This year Maserati expects to sell 5,000 cars, including Quattroportes. The 2005 target is 7,000 vehicles.

Maserati's 4.2-liter V8 suction engine with 400hp, the brand's only engine, has potential for further performance increases. Ferrari also will use the engine.

Maserati also may build a four-wheel drive car, such as the Kubang prototype, but no decision has yet been reached.

Fewings said the limited capacity in Modena will not affect the decision.

"BMW does not build the X3 itself. It is manufactured by Steyr in Graz," Fewings said.

The partnership signed by Maserati with VW and Audi last September has already helped Maserti to become better known.

Maserati is interested in VW'S electronics components, together with its aluminum, four-wheel-drive and diesel technologies and VW's dealer network and financial services.

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