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Posts Tagged ‘Italian cars’

Sales Soaring, Maserati Shakes Up Management

Two Chrysler executives tabbed to foster Marchionne’s growth plan.

by on Nov.12, 2013

Maserati is on a roll, but added two Chrysler executives to ensure the good times continue.

It’s anything but unusual for an automaker to shake up its management ranks when sales start to stumble. In the case of Maserati SpA, however, the maker is re-ordering its executive ranks just as sales begin to take off after years of lagging the luxury pack.

Maserati set a new all-time sales record of 623 units in October, nearly tripling the North American sales total for the same month last year. The introduction of the Quattroporte S Q4, the first all-wheel-drive car to be offered by Maserati, helped increase sales by more than 186% compared with the year-ago period.

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Overall, Maserati’s North American sales are up 29% year-to-date. In addition, Maserati has already sold more vehicles in 10 months in the U.S. than it sold in all of 2012. (more…)

Ferrari Puts Brakes On Production

Move designed to ensure the aura of exclusivity.

by on May.09, 2013

Ferrari is cutting back on production this year to maintain the brand's exclusivity.

Nothing turns heads quite like the sight of a Ferrari roaring down the road. The excitement and awe stems from the fact there aren’t many around. To ensure that continues, Ferrari plans to cut sales to fewer than 7,000 vehicles this year to maintain that aura of exclusivity around the storied brand.

“The decision we have made to sell fewer cars this year despite stronger sales is due to protect brand’s exclusivity,” Ferrari Chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo told reporters during a session at the company’s fabled factory in Maranello, Italy.

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Ferrari produced 7,318 cars last year, he said.


First Look: Lamborghini Veneno

Track-ready road car markets Lamborghini’s 50th anniversary.

by on Mar.04, 2013

One of only three copies of the Lamborghini Veneno made its debut in Geneva Monday night.

Like a well-toned athlete, Automobili Lamborghini is aging gracefully, and to celebrate its 50th anniversary, the Italian maker will roll out the 222 mph Veneno.

That’s not the number that’s likely to take your breath away, however. Lambo plans to produce only three copies of the track-ready, road car – for 3 million Euros apiece, or roughly $4 million at the current exchange rate.

Launching from 0 to 60 in just 2.8 seconds, the Veneno is “the fastest, most powerful on-road Lamborghini we’ve ever built,” said the maker’s CEO Stephan Winkelmann, during a Geneva Motor Show preview.

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In keeping with a half-century-old tradition, the name for the Lamborghini Veneno originates from a legendary fighting bull – in this case one claimed to be among the fastest in the history of the ring, who gained notoriety in 1914 when he gored to death one of the most famous matadors of his day, Jose Sanchez Rodriguez.


First Look: 2013 Fiat 500 Turbo

Bumps power by 34%.

by on Aug.17, 2012

The Fiat 500 line-up expands yet again with the 2013 addition of the new Turbo model.

For those who want better performance – without the price tag of the top-line Abarth edition – Fiat is adding a new turbocharged version of its little 500 model.

The new addition to the maker’s fast-growing line-up is making its debut in Monterey, California, this weekend, at the Concorso Italiano, one of the largest gatherings of Italian vehicles in North America.

Fiat launched its return to the U.S. market in late 2010 but got off to a slow start with the original 500 coupe and cabriolet.  Sales began to take off earlier this year with the debut of the Fiat 500 Abarth, a high-performance version backed by a sexy ad campaign.  At this point, the maker has run out of Abarths until production of the 2013 model begins.

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The new 2013 Fiat 500 Turbo targets those who don’t want something quite so extreme.  It features a 135-horsepower version of the maker’s MultiAir four-cylinder engine, as well as sportier suspension tuning and what Fiat bills as “track-proven” brakes.  The interior is upgraded and there are modest exterior enhancements over the base 500, as well.


It’s Official: Ferrari Names New Supercar the F12

Forget the 620 – but it’s still the most powerful Ferrari ever.

by on Feb.29, 2012

The Ferrari F12 will be the maker's fastest and most powerful production car ever.

One thing about a Ferrari, it’s able to make a fast turn, and apparently that applies to the Italian automaker itself, which has delivered a surprise today, announcing that its newest supercar will be named the Ferrari F12, rather than the 620 as widely reported.

One key detail hasn’t changed, however: the new super GT will be the fastest and most powerful automobile ever to wear the prancing pony badge.  Its 6.3-liter V12 will be able to launch the Ferrari F12 from 0 to 60 in about 3 seconds – with a top speed of more than 210 mph.

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The replacement for the Ferrari 599 will land in an increasingly crowded supercar market that will feature the likes of the new McLaren MP4-12C and the Lamborghini Aventador, so the opportunity to deliver anything but extreme performance will be minimal.


First Look: Lamborghini Aventador

Italian supercar maker bull-ish about new model.

by on Mar.01, 2011

The long-awaited Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 makes its Geneva debut.

Lamborghini is bull-ish about its new supercar, the Aventador, and for good reason.  In keeping with tradition, the Italian maker has named its latest offering after a legendary bull that kept even the bravest of matadors at bay.

If looks are any indication, the new Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4will do a good job sending chills through the competition.  Impossibly low and sleek, with an arrow-like body that is one of the sleekest on the road, the new Lambo flagship was developed with twin purposes.

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“It’s all about design and performance,” explained Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winklemann, during the new car’s debut at the Geneva Motor Show.  “Our inspiration,” he added, “comes from fighter jets.”

When it comes to muscle, there’s no bull.  The 700 refers to the horsepower rating of the Aventador’s 6.5-liter V12.  That’s pumped through a new electro-mechanical gearbox that can shift in barely 50 milliseconds.  As with previous Lamborghini flagships, the new model features high-traction all-wheel-drive to ensure all that torque reaches the pavement.


Going Topless Helps Maserati Makes Inroads

Still, “room for improvement,” suggests maker’s U.S. boss.

by on Feb.04, 2011

Katie Couric lends a hand moving media mogul Barry Diller's Maserati out of a snowdrift in Central Park.

Snowstorms have a decidedly democratic streak, and so, when media mogul Barry Diller found himself stuck in a snowdrift in New York’s Central Park, he got a helping hand from another celeb slogging through the storm, CBS New talking head Katie Couric.

Whether Diller offered Couric a tip – or a ride – is uncertain, but it was likely the latter considering the high demand for the Maserati GranTurismo Convertible he was driving.

After years of struggling to make inroads in the normally luxury-friendly U.S. market, the Italian automaker is finally gaining some traction, with or without Couric’s help.  While the overall luxury car market rebounded by 15% last year, Maserati sales jumped 49% — then delivered another 13% increase in January.

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“We had a good year,” suggested an understated Mark McNabb, the industry veteran who signed on as Maserati’s top American executive, last year.  The goal going into 2010, he said, was simply to “maintain the pace” with the rest of the luxury market, and perhaps pick up some incremental volume with the launch of the GT Convertible.  The new ragtop wildly exceeded expectations.

That’s good news for the nearly century-old maker, which some thought might be forced to abandon U.S. shores, as it had done back in 1990.  Back then, Maserati was struggling after years of mis-management under the helm of one-time racer Alessandro de Tomaso, who had taken control in 1975.


Alfa-Romeo To Play Key Role In Fiat Re-Launch

Half-dozen or more models under consideration for U.S.

by on Aug.31, 2010

The Alfa-Romeo Giulia, shown in concept form at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show, will help re-launch the brand in the U.S.

While the spotlight is focusing on the re-launch of the Fiat brand, late this year, another long-absent Italian marque is getting ready to make its own American comeback.

Hundreds of potential dealers were in suburban Detroit, this week, meeting at Chrysler headquarters to discuss plans to roll out the U.S. version of the Fiat 500 microcar, the first of several models Chrysler’s Italian affiliate intends to bring to market.  But at the meeting, sources report, Fiat also provided a road map for the re-introduction of its more upscale Alfa-Romeo brand.

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As many as a half-dozen different sedans, coupes and crossovers are under consideration and could make it to market in the years immediately after Alfa’s return, in 2012.  That’s on top of the various Alfa products that could be used as platforms for Chrysler-branded models.  A revival of the Dodge Viper sports car, for example, is expected to be based on an Alfa offering.


Chrysler to Set Up Separate Fiat Dealer Network

Suggests bigger plans ahead for Italian maker.

by on Jul.05, 2010

Chrysler plans to set up an all-new distribution network to handle the Fiat 500 and other products from its Italian partner.

When the first Fiat-branded products begin making their return to the U.S., late this year, they’ll be sold in a separate network of showrooms, rather than sitting alongside models sold by the Italian maker’s American arm, Chrysler.

It has been more than two decades since the Fiat brand abandoned the U.S. market, and its luxury arm, Alfa-Romeo, has only had a smattering of offerings here since, most recently the limited-edition 8C.  But a key factor in Fiat’s decision to acquire a controlling stake in Chrysler was to use that partnership to re-establish a presence on American soil.

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The first model to launch will be the Fiat 500, a microcar that has won an array of awards in Europe and other parts of the world.  While some of the Italian makers products will serve as a platform for future Chrysler offerings, the Americanized version of what is also known as the Cinquento will retain its Fiat badge.  And now, it seems, it will be the first product to anchor a new line of Fiat showrooms, according to Sergio Marchionne, who serves as CEO for both Chrysler and Fiat.


First Look: 2011 Ferrari 599 GTO

Fastest road-going Ferrari ever will debut in Beijing

by on Apr.08, 2010

At nearly 210 mph, the 2011 599 GTO is the fastest road car Ferrari has ever produced.

It’s a good thing they’re building all those new roads in China.  You’ll need a good stretch of tarmac to enjoy the new 2011 Ferrari 599 GTO, which is set to make its formal debut at this month’s Beijing Motor Show.

If the look is familiar, that’s because the limited edition Ferrari 599 GTO is based on the experimental track car, the Ferrari 599XX.  The 599, which Ferrari defines as an “extreme V12 berlinetta,” will be the fastest road-going sports car the Italian automaker has ever unleashed, with a top speed of 335 kmh (209 mph), and a 0 to 60 time of 3.35 seconds.

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Powering this sexy Italian beast is a 6.0-liter V12 making a hefty 661 horsepower and 457 lb-ft of torque.  It’s mated to a 6-speed Formula One-style gearbox.