Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Maserati: Italian Luxury

Maserati has an interesting history with ownership changing many times over the years. Within approximately the last decade, Maserati has gone from Fiat ownership, to join Fiat/Ferrari ownership, to full Ferrari ownership, back to full Fiat ownership (which is even more interesting since Fiat owns Ferrari). Over this period Ferrari helped reinvigorate Maserati and even developed the engine and drivetrain which is shared amongst the different models.

Maserati's plant tour shows some great examples of component commonality because their lineup appears to have many common parts with different exterior styling to address very specific customer segments.

  • Quattroporte - Four Door sedan (Quattroporte means four doors in Italian)
  • GranTurismo - Hard Top Coupe (2+2)
  • GranSport - Hard Top Coupe (2+2)
  • Gransport Spyder - Two Seat Convertible; No back seat
  • Coupe - Hardtop Coupe (2+2)

In fact, per the video the only difference between the the Quattroporte and Granturismo is that the Quattroporte has a larger grille. Maserati only manufactures ~7,000-10,000 vehicles per year, but would like to increase that number as sales in North America increase.

Some interesting points from the Maserati Plant Tour video that I noted as I watched it were that:
  • Maserati has implemented a JIT methodology, and looked to have much of their information on the Paper travelers that move with each car.
  • Around the 3 minute mark the spokeswoman notes that the vehicle being shown is definitively an american car because of the cup holders!
  • Engines are tested as modules by Ferrari and also Final Tested in a finished car up to 250 kpm. Each car is then driven 80km over city streets, mountain roads, and highways.
  • If you pick up your car at the Maserati showroom you will find your car covered with a blue cover so you can unveil your car, open your champagne, and party with Maserati! You also get your own photographer so you can be assurred the event is documented. Note: Sounds very similiar to Ferrari to me!

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