Maserati auto news

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40+ cars that barely avoid the gas guzzler tax

07/24/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Convertibles, Coupes, Sedans/Saloons, Sports/GTs, Wagons/Estates, Government/Legal, Audi, Bentley, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, Hyundai, Jaguar, Lexus, Maserati, Mercedes Benz, Porsche, Luxury

The Gas Guzzler schedule, with mpg ratings and charges that haven't changed since 1991, lays out which fuel-swillers owe what to Uncle Sam.

I started thinking about the "Gas Guzzler Tax" - considerably less well known as The Energy Tax Act of 1978 - when I was driving Dodge's new Challenger SRT Hellcat last week. Unsurprisingly for a car that can burn 1.5 gallons of gas per minute at max tilt, theoretically able to empty a full tank of premium in about 13 minutes, the Hellcat will be subject to the Gas Guzzler Tax schedule when it goes on sale.

Beyond knowing that it existed, and occasionally seeing a surcharge for it listed on the specification sheet for a press car I'd been loaned, I didn't really understand how the GGT worked or was calculated.

Thankfully, the Environmental Protection Agency makes learning about the GGT (and a lot of other stuff) pretty simple. EPA.gov has a clearly written explanation of the tax and the tax schedule. That schedule, operating with miles-per-gallon ratings and charges that haven't changed since 1991, clearly lays out which fuel-swillers owe what to Uncle Sam. Basically, if a car's combined fuel economy rating is 22.5 mpg or higher it's off the hook ­- trucks, minivans and SUVs are all exempt from the GGT - if the rating is lower, per vehicle taxes range from $1,000 to $7,700 for the very thirstiest.

Simple, right?

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Maserati to cap output at 75,000 cars

07/18/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sports/GTs, Maserati, Earnings/Financials, Luxury

2014 Maserati Ghibli

Maserati appears set to take a page out of corporate sibling Ferrari's playbook with the possibility that it may cap global annual output in the coming years. Ferrari announced in 2013 that it would limit itself to 7,000 vehicles a year to maintain exclusivity, and so far, it has stuck to the plan.

According to an unnamed Maserati executive speaking to Reuters, the Italian luxury car maker wants to cap its sales to 75,000 vehicles a year. However, it's hardly there yet. The company doesn't forecast reaching that production benchmark until 2018.

Dave Sullivan, an auto industry analyst for AutoPacific, thinks that limiting sales could be a smart move for Maserati. "If it is profitable at 75,000 and doesn't require a significant investment in capacity to get there, this appears to be sound," he said to Autoblog via email. "Alfa Romeo is intended to be the volume brand and by capping Maserati, it means that even if you opted to buy the 'entry level' Ghibli, you still have a level of exclusivity."

Maserati is on a spectacular growth path at the moment. After selling just 15,400 cars in 2013, sales are on track to at least double this year. Getting more units out the door should be helped by the brand's expanded model lineup, too. It plans to add the Levante crossover in 2015, a production version of its Alfieri Concept in 2016, a convertible version of it in 2017 and a replacement for the aging GranTurismo in 2018. For now, though, the still-new Quattroporte and Ghibli are making lots of friends.

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Singapore car salesman jailed for gambling away $280k Maserati deposit

07/10/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Car Buying, Sports/GTs, Etc., Government/Legal, Maserati, Luxury

2014 Maserati Ghibli Diesel

Kenny Rogers' country classic The Gambler is right about two things: you gotta know when to hold'em and know when to fold'em. A former Maserati salesman in Singapore is learning that lesson about when to step away from the table, after being sentenced to 33 months in prison for allegedly gambling away a customer's deposit of 350,000 Singapore dollars ($280,800).

According to Asia One, Allan Tan Buan Yuen was selling a Maserati in 2011. He told the customer that the car would take six months to arrive and cost 650,000 Singapore dollars ($522,000). While that may sound high, cars in the Asian country are notoriously expensive.

Yuen asked for a deposit of 150,000 Singapore dollars ($120,400), but instead of handing the money to the dealer, he placed the funds in his own account. Apparently, the customer didn't notice, and over the next few months Yuen received an additional 200,000 Singapore dollars ($160,400) towards the car from him. Clearly, this ruse couldn't last forever, though. When the buyer eventually inquired about his Maserati months later, Yuen admitted that he had already gambled away the entire fortune.

Yuen saw it wasn't worth fighting and pled guilty to his crime. The judge appeared to show some lenience, as well, because, according to Asia One, the maximum sentence could have been 15 years in prison and a fine. At just under three years behind bars, Yuen received only a fraction of that.

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Marchionne should trim brands from Fiat Chrysler portfolio, analysts say

06/13/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Maserati, Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, FIAT, Ram

Fiat Chrysler

The last time the Chrysler Group was part of another automaker, we saw the death of the Plymouth brand. Now, with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in place of DaimlerChrysler, we could see more brands shuttered. At least, that's what analysts think FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne should do.

With Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Ferrari, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram and the Fiat commercial unit, there are some analysts that think that there are too many mouths to feed at FCA, and that the levels of growth Marchionne is aiming for will only be possible if some brands are cut loose. This isn't the first time Marchionne's ambitious growth plan has seen outside criticism.

"If it was not for Brazil, where it is the number one brand, Marchionne should simply kill the Fiat brand," Phillipe Houchois of London-based UBS, told Automotive News. A London-based consultant at International Strategy & Investment, meanwhile, thinks that the American side of the equation needs pruning, telling AN "it could be Dodge or Chrysler, but not Dodge and Chrysler."

"The cross mixing of brands is going to destroy the fabric of the brand. A brand is a precious thing," Marchionne told AN. Considering that view, it's hard not to see the point being made the analysts.

Which of Fiat Chrysler's brands do you think should be on the chopping block? Would you rather see Chrysler or Dodge go the way of Lancia? Should the Fiat brand just be folded, despite its strong success in the burgeoning Brazilian market? Have your say in Comments.

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Maserati ramping up production of Ghibli, Quattroporte

06/12/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sedans/Saloons, Sports/GTs, Plants/Manufacturing, Maserati, Luxury

Maserati Ghibli

While Porsche may be relatively new to the four-door game, Maserati has been building the Quattroporte with few interruptions since 1963. But like its rival from Stuttgart, the Trident marque is rapidly shifting from a sports car company primarily to a manufacturer of high-end family transportation. Not only does it have the new Quattroporte on the market, but now it's got the Ghibli sedan as well and the Levante crossover on its way.

It's a gambit that's reaping huge benefits not only for Maserati itself but also for its newly merged parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which is finding the mass market less lucrative than it once was and is positioning both Maserati and Alfa Romeo against other luxury marques like BMW, Audi and Porsche. As a result, Maserati is considerably expanding its production.

Last month, Maserati sold over 3,000 cars, putting it on track to double its sales from 2013. But it's not about to stop there. With growing demand for its authentically Italian luxury sedans, Maserati is shifting more workers to its assembly plant in the Turinese suburn of Grugliasco (where the QP and Ghibli are made) and shortening vacation time to ramp production up from 750 cars per week to 900.

That's a suitably Maserati pace at which to build such high-end cars, and is prompting FCA to invest a good $74 billion to reinvigorate Maserati, Alfa Romeo and Jeep into global brands and turn its parent company from the 11th and 13th largest automakers separately in 2012 to one major industrial powerhouse.

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Hear the Maserati Alfieri clear its throat at Villa d'Este

05/28/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Concept Cars, Coupes, Sports/GTs, Videos, Maserati

Maserati Alfieri

We know that Maserati will eventually bring a version of its Alfieri Concept to the road, as a next-generation production model slated to arrive in 2016. Shown at the Concours d'Elegance at Villa d'Este, the Alfieri wowed spectators with its throaty singing voice, releasing a few barks and a very racy idle note. Sadly, we know it won't sound exactly like this when it goes on sale.

See, Maserati is adopting a V6-only plan with the Alfieri, so the 4.7-liter V8 shown in the concept and adopted from the GranTurismo, isn't going to make be available in the production model. That's not to say the production car will sound bad - we've every reason to believe it won't - but that this isn't an accurate representation of what the 2016 Alfieri will sound like.

Take a listen and a look at the video down below, then hop into Comments and let us know what you think.

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Maserati returns to Indianapolis to commemorate historic win

05/27/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Motorsports, Time Warp, Maserati, Racing

Maserati 8CTF at Indy

This past weekend was Memorial Day weekend, folks, and you know what that means: racing. There was the Monaco Grand Prix for Formula One fans, and back Stateside there was the Indianapolis 500. You might expect to see a name like Maserati pop up at the former more than the latter, but that wasn't always the case.

These days its all about Dallara chassis powered by Chevy or Honda, but over the course of a century there have been plenty of foreign automakers that have won the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. McLaren won it twice in the 1970s, Mercedes and Peugoet won during the race's pre-WWI infancy, and in between them Boyle Racing won it two years in a row with a Maserati chassis and engine.

The car was the Maserati 8CTF "Boyle Special," and its first win came 75 years ago. So to mark the occasion (as well as Maserati's 100th anniversary), the car was brought back to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for a revival lap. Unfortunately Wilbur Shaw, who won the Indy 500 three times (twice in the Maserati) and went on to be president of the speedway, died in a plane crash the day before his 52nd birthday in 1954. So in his place fellow three-time winner Johnny Rutherford took the wheel of the 8CTF in front of the gathered crowds.

The celebration also marked the 8CTF's entry as the first import automobile to be registered with the Library of Congress, meeting the criteria set down by the Secretary of the Interior to be immortalized as an historically significant automobile.

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Sony offers up day-to-night gameplay footage from Driveclub beta

05/17/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Videos, Maserati, Toys, Racing

Drive Club Time of Day

The holiday season of 2014 looks like another great year for fans of racing games. Last year, there was the double-whammy of console motorsports with Forza Motorsport 5 for the Xbox One and Gran Turismo 6 for the PlayStation 3. This year, Project CARS and Driveclub are the new contenders out to challenge the veterans.

We first spotted Driveclub last year at the E3 video game trade show, and it was supposed to be a launch game for the PlayStation 4. However, It went into development limbo for a little while, and it didn't emerge until recently with an October 7 release date.

Sony is hoping to renew interest in the game with two new trailers that show of its sophisticated lighting model. Both videos feature Driveclub's ability to stage races that shift in lighting as the time of day changes. From a graphical standpoint, it's pretty impressive to gradually notice that the headlights are shining off obstacles and other cars until the world is bathed in darkness.

The new footage also gives a glimpse at how Driveclub handles its racing. Even at E3, the game seemed to have slightly less realistic handling than Forza or GT. It's more obvious here with the narrow roads, lots of sliding cars and bashing around in order to pass. It's quite a different approach from what we see from Project CARS that appears to lean more in favor of a driving simulation.

Scroll down to check out the two latest looks at the upcoming game featuring a Pagani Zonda R and a Maserati Gran Turismo, and let us know in Comments which new racing game you're most looking forward to.

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Share price falls on skepticism of Chrysler-Fiat five-year plan

05/09/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Chrysler, Maserati, Earnings/Financials, Alfa Romeo, FIAT

Fiat Chrysler

Following this week's Fiat Chrysler extravaganza, where the Italian-American manufacturer announced its plans for the next five years, the Autoblog staff was cautiously optimistic of the company's future. Investors? Not so much.

Fiat saw its shares tumble 12 percent in Wednesday's trading, falling from 8.67 euros ($12.06 at today's rates) to 7.44 euros ($10.35) as of this writing, with blame partly going to the Italian half of the FCA marriage, which recorded a pretty significant drop in profits during the first quarter of this year.

The plan, which will cost around $77 billion over the next several years, is facing criticism from investors thanks in part to a 1.4-percent drop in Fiat's first-quarter profits, to 622 million euros ($862 million). That figure is also short of Bloomberg analysts' projections, which predicted $1.18 billion in profits before taxes, interest and one-time items.

Marchionne's goal of dramatically increasing sales before 2018 is a particularly big point of contention.

"If you start your 2014-2018 plan with an extremely weak quarter, nobody will give you the credit that you will achieve your targets," Jens Schattner, a Frankfurt-based automotive analyst told Bloomberg. "If it was so easy just to launch new products to be successful in this industry, why wouldn't everybody do exactly the same."

Some of the concerns are even simpler, though.

"These brands need a huge amount of work to get where they need to be. The world changes very slowly and you have brands at the bottom of the pile in many regions. It's not going to happen overnight," said Harald Hendrikse, a London-based analyst for Nomura Holdings.

Alfa Romeo and Maserati are perhaps the biggest points of concern, each brand facing its fair share of struggles over the years. Marchionne's goal of dramatically increasing sales (over five-fold for Alfa and nearly as much for Maserati) before 2018 is a particularly big point of contention.

"The aspiration is big but the questions are bigger," said Erik Gordon, a business professor at the University of Michigan. "Can Fiat do enough to turn Alfa into a big, profitable brand? Are there enough Maserati buyers to make Fiat a global player?"

While we like what we saw earlier this week in Auburn Hills, it seems fairly clear that there will be a number of bumps in the road along the way. Whether the analysts' concerns end up being correct, though, remains to be seen.

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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles: The next five years

05/07/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Maserati, Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, FIAT, Ram, SRT

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles sign

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past 24 hours, you've no doubt read about all of the big future product news coming out of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles today. We had individual brand reports from Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Maserati and even Ferrari, but in the interest of simplifying and summarizing, we're going to list out the hard facts once more. Of course, with all of this still off in the future, there's still the possibility that a few changes will be made. But as of what we know right now, here's what's coming, and what's going away.

Chrysler

  • 2014: Refreshed 300/300C, debuting at Los Angeles Auto Show
  • 2016: 100 C-segment sedan launches; Town & Country minivan launches, complete with PHEV version
  • 2017: 200 sedan gets a mid-cycle refresh; all-new fullsize crossover launches, complete with PHEV version
  • 2018: all-new 300/300C launches; all-new midsize crossover launches
  • Unconfirmed: 300 SRT8 will die
Dodge/SRT
  • SRT brand will be folded back into Dodge, meaning the Viper once again wears the Dodge logo
  • 2014: refreshed Charger launches; refreshed Challenger and Challenger SRT launch; Avenger dies
  • 2015: refreshed Charger SRT launches; Viper refreshed
  • 2016: new Dart and Dart SRT arrive; new Journey arrives; Grand Caravan minivan dies with the arrival of new Chrysler Town & Country. Join our siblings at AOL Autos to reflect on the loss of the first mainstream minivan.
  • 2017: new Journey SRT arrives; Durango refreshed
  • 2018: new B-segment sedan and hatch arrive; new Challenger and Challenger SRT arrive; new Charger and Charger SRT arrive
Jeep
  • 2014: Renegade launches
  • 2015: Grand Cherokee refreshed
  • 2016: 75th anniversary of Jeep; Compass and Patriot die; all-new C-segment SUV launches; Cherokee refreshed
  • 2017: Renegade refreshed; all-new Wrangler launches; all-new Grand Cherokee launches
  • 2018: all-new Grand Wagoneer launches
Ram
  • 2014: ProMaster diesel launches; ProMaster City launches
  • 2015: Ram 1500 refreshed
  • 2016: Ram HD refreshed; Ram chassis cab refreshed
  • 2017: all-new Ram 1500 launches; Commercial light-duty truck refreshed
  • 2018: all-new Ram HD launches; all-new Commercial heavy-duty truck launches; Ram chassis cab major update launches
Fiat
  • 2015: 500X launches; new "specialty" car launches
Maserati
  • 2014: GranTurismo and GranCabrio die
  • 2015: Levante SUV launches
  • 2016: Alfieri Coupe launches
  • 2017: Alfieri Cabrio launches
  • 2018: GranTurismo launches
Alfa Romeo
  • 2014: 4C and 4C Spider launch
  • 2015: all-new midsize vehicle launches (not necessarily for US)
  • 2016-2018: two all-new compacts launch; one all-new midsize vehicle launches; one all-new fullsize vehicle launches; two all-new utility vehicles launch; one new "specialty" vehicle launches (note: not all are necessarily for US)
Ferrari
  • 2014-2018: one new vehicle launches each year
Indeed, there's a lot to talk about regarding the five-year plan for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Be sure to give us your two cents, in Comments.
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