Maserati Kubang at North American International AutoShow 2012
The President’s message in this issue is from Harald Wester, CEO of Maserati SpA, at the invitation of Mark McNabb, President and CEO of Maserati North America. Mr. Wester presented the Maserati SUV concept at the North American International Autoshow in January and what follows is the speech he gave on that occasion.
Harald J Wester, President and CEO Maserati SpA
Speech to North American International Autoshow
January 10th, 2012 – 10:30 am
Ladies and gentlemen, good morning.
Maserati comes to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit just a few days after closing another very positive year.
Compared to 2010, worldwide sales were up approximately 10% in 2011. North America is and remains Maserati’s largest market worldwide with over 2400 units delivered to final customers in the past twelve months for an increase of more than 20%. The second largest market in the world for Maserati is now China which has doubled its sales volume in the last year.
Maserati’s business in North America has proven to exceed both the gains of the overall light vehicle market as well as the luxury market. The current line-up is well defined, carefully positioned and closely reflects the desires of our clients. We continue to offer fresh interpretations which have received strong response, such as the 2012 GranTurismo MC and Convertible Sport while the GranTurismo Convertible, based on its substantial fundamentals, remains consistent. Maserati creates modern vehicles which express the best elements of our tradition, and offer the market an Italian alternative within key segments. In order to ensure a strong future, we will soon apply this successful formula to some of the most competitive segments which, while new to Maserati, are well suited to our DNA. At my side today you see the first tangible look into Maserati’s future: the Kubang SUV concept.
The Maserati Kubang concept that we are showing for the first time in North America today represents an important part of the future Maserati range. It creates discontinuity by entering a new segment and continuity by maintaining the integrity of Maserati’s DNA. As we have pointed out over the last few months, a new vehicle in the sports luxury SUV segment represents a natural direction for Maserati to enlarge our product range and strengthen our presence in this market.
As is well known, the idea of a sport luxury SUV is not new to Maserati. We unveiled a first concept bearing the same name at this very show in 2003. At a time in which few other brands were going in the direction of a sport luxury SUV, Maserati was already considering one. The elements which make up a sport luxury SUV are a good fit for our capabilities - and synergies within our industrial group offer the ideal catalyst for Maserati’s own interpretation of a sport luxury SUV. While we start with solid fundamentals and capability, the model produced will unquestionably be a Maserati.
All major system components will be genuine Maserati in picture-perfect continuity with the brand’s core values of sportiness, elegance, glamour, luxury, performance and craftsmanship.
The essence and characteristic Maserati style that makes the Kubang immediately recognizable as a true Maserati has been created by the Maserati Style Center headed by Lorenzo Ramaciotti.
New-generation high-tech Maserati proprietary engines will be designed in Modena by Paolo Martinelli, the Head of the Maserati Powertrain Department. Before undertaking this role, Mr. Martinelli spent nearly thirty years with Ferrari as Head of Engine Developement for the Formula 1 team spanning its most succesful, multiple world championship, era. These new Maserati engines will be produced in Maranello by Ferrari and mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. Componentry with specific performance settings such as suspension, brakes, steering and electronics will be exclusively developed by Maserati engineers. Like many of its competitors, the Maserati sport luxury SUV that will spring from the Kubang concept will be made in the United States.
It will be produced at the Chrysler Jefferson North plant here in Michigan to be exported worldwide. The fact that Maserati today is in a position to grow and do so by bringing jobs to North America, is something for which we take great pride. Maserati is a progenitor of the modern granturismo.
Then, nearly 50 years ago, we expanded the boundaries of the original GT concept and the resulting Quattroporte model created the luxury sport sedan segment.
Today times have once again changed: sportiness and luxury can take the form of a very dynamic looking, incredibly elegant and high performing sport luxury vehicle with the capability of getting its passengers through all types of climates over a variety of surfaces.
Maserati is a natural to build such a vehicle and the time is right to do so.
Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming a new era for Maserati, Michigan and the sport luxury market- each of which will be made stronger by the Kubang project.
Thank you very much.
Harald J Wester, President and CEO Maserati SpA