http://www.detroitnews.com/apps/pbcs...01/1148/AUTO01Maserati, the exotic Italian car manufacturer, has ambitious plans for the future, which may well entail linking up with its fellow countryman Alfa Romeo in the U.S. to boost sports car sales there.
Maserati, owned by Italian mass car maker Fiat which itself recently emerged from a messy divorce from General Motors Corp., is lucky to be alive.
It has been a serial loss maker and last year notched up its 17th year in a row of red ink. That is set to end in 2007.
"Maserati will finally return to profitability in 2007, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne told financial analysts after announcing its results for 2006.
But having come to grips with its financial problems, there is another potentially disastrous dark cloud building on the horizon for Maserati and its fellow supercar manufacturers -- new European rules forcing improved fuel economy to curb carbon dioxide emissions said to contribute to climate change, could torpedo balance sheets.
Meanwhile Maserati is improving its finances, steadily cutting trading losses from $230 million in 2004 to $116 million a year later and $45 million in 2006.
Maserati is also plotting a dramatic increase in global sales, which are set to more than double by 2011 to around 12,000 Quattroportes, GranTurismos and GranSports if you believe Maserati, or at least rise quite sharply from last year's 5,500 to 8,000 by 2013, according to automotive consultants CSM Worldwide. This is a healthy increase on sales of less than 1,000 in the 1990s.
Getting on for half of Maserati sales will be in the U.S., according to CSM Worldwide's British-based Europe Sales Forecast Manager Walt Madeira