Maserati planning to pause sports car production 0

maserati-planning-to-pause-sports-car-productionMaserati is doing the unthinkable: It’s planning to halt production of its sports cars.

With the company’s emphasis switching to four-door saloons and crossovers, iconic models such as the GranTurismo and GranCabrio are set to be put out to pasture for a few years, with production at the Viale Ciro Menotti headquarters in north Italy set to cease in 2017.

No replacements for the sports car models are slated till 2019 – or even 2020 in the case of the right-hand drive showroom versions – that amounts to a three year break in production with no such vehicles in the range.

It’s a fair barometer of the current times, that the Italian brand’s 19 dealerships in Britain, will only be selling notchbacks and SUVs. So far, the strategy initially seems to be working; Maserati has shifted 21% more vehicles in 2016 than ever before, and will break a new sales record by the conclusion of the year.

Executives at the Italian company are insistent that the GT twins will be replaced. Giulio Pastore, managing director of the firm’s European division, revealed that a new genre of sports cars is in preparation.

“We have to have sports cars in our range and we would like to keep two models again,” he said, indicating that a standalone coupe and convertible were on the drawing board, rather than a single CC-style folding hard-top option.

Amongst the new ideas is the Alfieri concept – produced to celebrate the brand’s centenary and is currently ‘in a holding pattern’ says new CEO Reid Bigland. “Contrary to popular belief, it’s not dead,” he told CAR at the Paris motor show. “You could just say it’s orbiting the Earth, awaiting landing.”

Electric Maseratis are also in the pipeline. One possible scenario has the Alfieri positioned as a standalone EV sports car, leading the range’s electrification projects. This would leave the 2020 GranTurismo and GranCabrio as V6 and V8 petrol engines, rear wheel drive and new aluminium architecture.

“We are studying hybrids, plug-in hybrids and 48-volt systems too,” admitted Pastore.

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