Business » Companies
Author`s name Alex Naumov

Sinking US economy may hurt Maserati

Italian luxury sports car brand Maserati might sell to the super-rich, but it is still worried about developments in the U.S. economy.

"The United States is our biggest market, and we are monitoring the situation very carefully, day by day," Chief Executive Roberto Ronchi told Reuters on Monday. "We are a small company, and I hope that we will not be hurt too much."

Maserati is an Italian manufacturer of racing cars and sports cars, established on December 1, 1914 in Bologna. The company's headquarters are now in Modena, and its emblem is a trident. It is a luxury car manufacturer competing directly with Aston Martin and Jaguar, and sometimes with large German mass-producers, including Audi, Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

Today, it is owned by the Italian car giant Fiat S.p.A. since 1993. Inside the Fiat Group, Maserati has been initially associated with Ferrari S.p.A., more recently it is part of the sports car Group with Alfa Romeo.

In 1997, Fiat sold a 50% share in the company to Maserati's long-time arch-rival Ferrari (though this was, and is, itself controlled by Fiat). In 1999 Ferrari took full control, making Maserati its luxury division. A new factory was built, replacing the existing 1940s-vintage facility. Ferrari is credited for bringing Maserati back into business, after many lackluster years of Maserati teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.

More recently, Maserati discussed an agreement with Volkswagen for the German company to share its Audi division's Quattro all-wheel-drive technology (originally meant for the still-born Maserati Kubang sport utility vehicle concept) for Maserati's current Quattroporte platform. This idea has since been abandoned because Volkswagen owns two of Ferrari's direct rivals, Lamborghini and Bugatti.