Maserati rolls out its entry-level Ghibli

The Italian maker of luxury cars aims to lure a new group of consumers from popular midsize sedans by Mercedes, Audi and BMW.

By Bruce Kennedy Jul 9, 2013 7:30AM

2013 Maserati Ghibli (© Maserati)Ever dream of owning a prestigious sports car but wake up once you saw the price? Well, take heart. A Maserati may soon be within more folks' reach.

While the prices for most Maseratis start in the low six figures, the company has decided to veer slightly from its usual hyper-rich clientele and start a flirtation with the simply well-off. Beginning in September, it will introduce a midsize four-door sedan with a starting price of just under $66,000.

The Ghibli -- the name refers to a hot wind from the Sahara and was used for another Maserati line in the 1960s -- is the carmaker's attempt to cross over to its new target audience. It's also part of the company's goal to increase its sales eightfold, to 50,000 vehicles, by 2015, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

A subsidiary of Fiat (FIATY), Maserati has made it very clear the Ghibli is meant to poach consumers from the luxury vehicles made by Daimler's (DDAIF) Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen's (VLKAY) Audi and BMW.

"We have to steal buyers from the Germans," Benedetto Orvietani, a product development manager at Maserati, told Businessweek. "We are going after their most demanding customers, the ones that are bored with their Audi A6 and want to stand out."

Car and Driver also sees the Ghibli as competition for the Cadillac CTS made by General Motors (GM) and Tata Motors' (TTM) Jaguar XF, while suggesting the vehicle could make the Maserati brand seem a little less exotic to consumers on this side of the Atlantic. "Maserati wants to get on the shopping lists of many more people," the magazine added, "and the Ghibli will make the brand far more accessible than it is today."

Industry analysts say the new car is one of the most important vehicles ever made in Maserati's nearly100-year history. Throwing down the gauntlet with the German carmakers will be a big challenge, according to Gianluca Spina, the dean of the business school at Milan Polytechnic.

Maserati, he told Businessweek, "may be positioned too high to be stretched into midsize luxury sedans. For sure, it's the most lucrative segment of the market, and the strength of German carmakers comes from having created it."

"If the Ghibli succeeds," Michael Harley wrote at Autoblog, "Maserati will welcome tens of thousands of new customers and, most importantly, celebrate a rekindled relationship with demanding North American buyers. If the Ghibli fails -- well, the truth is, nobody has written an option for failure."

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Jul 9, 2013 10:56AM

Nice competition for BMW and Caddy depending on how it performs compared to those two. 

More choices the better.

Jul 9, 2013 11:37AM
If someone is concerned with high maintenance costs, never, ever buy a European car, and especially an Italian car. OMG!

Would have been nice to see some specs in the article along with the obligatory promo blather.

Jul 9, 2013 1:13PM
I remember when Chrysler bought Maserti and tried to pass off a LeBaron as one by removing the backseat and sticking on  MASERTI  badge. What an embarrasing car that was ( 1989)
Jul 9, 2013 10:44AM
$66k for a chance at $600 oil changes, $1000 brake pads, $4000 tires and wow, what a deal, a $300 air filter, and it needs 2?  - sign me up, no. 
Jul 9, 2013 10:02AM
I am buying one as soon as they come out.
Jul 9, 2013 12:31PM

$66K? What do you get? A hood ornament and a title? If I intended to spend $66K on a car, it would be American made, and come with a hotel room, hookers and waffles.

Jul 9, 2013 12:58PM
I want to see how the car holds up with a few years in the consumer market. If they are as well built as my BMW, I would definitely buy one in the future.
Jul 9, 2013 2:15PM
I recently bought a used S550 for less.  That is the way to go with expensive foreign cars. Get them just off lease. Bought 10 Porsches that way over the years. Crazy to buy new.
Jul 9, 2013 3:30PM
What a typically crappy article from MSN. No usable information is included. For all we know the beast is powered by a steam engine & runs on coal.
Jul 9, 2013 3:16PM

Being Honest...Jaguar does not have a "c" in it; I won't be hassling you about other spell mistakes.

But will about the Jag..


Some of the Hi-line cars are not always about being pretentious or trying to impress the neighbors.

Don't care about the neighbors...They have what they want...We have ours.

Some people are car collectors, or try to invest in something that may pay for itself down the road or at least break even, and have the pleasure of driving it....

Some collect Barbie Dolls, Beanie Babies, kids and welfare checks.

We or I like cars, old bottles, books and rocks.

That's what you work for all your life.

Jul 9, 2013 1:18PM

I remember when Porsche introduced a wannabe model also. Those driving them always evoked a smile -- nothing's so hick as someone playing a money game and spending good money to show they don't have enough to do it right.


I also remember a dude who got a really nice deal on a beautiful Aston Martin DB6. I asked him why he was trying to sell it less than a year after he bought it (used). He told me that the oil change required special tools, and that the only dealership in the Seattle area that would do the work wanted $635.


That was 1977.


Jul 9, 2013 1:21PM
I think it's a nice looking car, but a bit out of my price range.
I WANT ONE!!   WHERE CAN I get one??
Jul 9, 2013 1:07PM
I just turned 500k on my 1990 Camry. Now that has been a good investment in a car.
Jul 9, 2013 3:39PM
Italian cars, no thanks.Italian ladies, now that`s a different story.
Jul 9, 2013 11:42AM
Looks like a nice styling change from the similar priced German lines. If they want to sell in the US market they will have to develop the service network through the Fiat/Chrysler dealerships. Mercedes, Audi, and BMW are well established and it will be an uphill battle for Maserati. Wouldn't mind trying one if I could afford to waste $66K of my retirement savings but I'll stay with my 6 year old Infinity.
Jul 9, 2013 2:17PM

They did say that they are aiming towards people who drives BMW, Audis, high end Cadillacs and Mercedez Benz. If those car markers' clientele can afford them then I betcha they will buy one (just to try it out). This car is not for the average person who drives a car for affordability and not for the status quo. To be truthful, Mercedez Benz vehicles are really good  racing cars. So they have a dual purpose.

Jul 9, 2013 3:26PM

Did have a couple Ford Falcons tho'...

One was a Hi-performance Sprint Convertible...Mid year.

A very dumb thing, I did selling that one....At least not until 30 years later.

Jul 9, 2013 7:06PM

The New Chariots, 

   When it comes to higher end and exotic autos, the reliability factor is definitely expected and a part of the equation, but most of these cars are purchased because they stir some inner passion. Whether it be a beautiful design, power, performance, exclusivity or just bragging rights, the cars are an extension of the driver's lust for something different. It was the same ethos 2,000 years ago when wealthy Romans vied for prestige and status on the Appian Way with their custom-built chariots and Arabian horses.

   The generally higher expense of maintaining and insuring some of these premium sleds pretty much comes with the territory. Then again, if someone can afford an auto that costs north of 65k and on into six figures, they can certainly afford the extra TLC that it may require. Enjoy the rides.


Peace to all ~

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