MODENA - Maserati's introduction of the 3200GT coupe after a polo match at the Longchamp race grounds in Paris underlines Ferrari's ambition to regain credibility for the marque.
Since Fiat gave Ferrari control of Maserati in July 1997, Maserati has spent L450 billion ($265 million) to:
Completely refurbish the Modena plant;
Launch three new cars;
Make plans to re-enter the US market in 2001.
By 2004, Fiat wants an annual volume of 6,500 Maseratis and 3,500 Ferraris.
The investment is more than 20 percent of sales, said Paolo Marinsek, Ferrari's managing director. 'Of course this also means it will take time to return to the black,' he said. 'We plan to break even at Maserati not before 2000 or 2001.'
In 1997 Maserati sold 700 units, losing L70 billion ($41 million).
Maserati will begin sales of the new 3200 GT - which required L100 billion ($58.8 million) investment - late this year. The sales goal is 800 units in 1998. Next year the plan is to make 1,700 of the new model. The price in Italy will be L149.5 million ($87,900), about the price of rival sports cars Jaguar XKR and Porsche 911.