Baby Maserati sports coupe in the pipeline to boost carmaker's annual sales

Maserati is considering adding a smaller sports coupe to its line-up in an attempt to boost annual sales to between 15 and 18,000 units per year, according to highly placed sources within the company.

The new car would likely be based on a cut-down version of the GT platform and be a strict two-seater. It would be similar in concept to the prototype built by Maserati engineers in 2005, just ahead of the company’s split with then-owners Ferrari.

It will probably be priced between €80-100,000, or around £60-80,000 in the UK. Global sales are expected to exceed 6000 units.

Both coupe and cabriolet versions of the baby Maserati are likely, although it’s too early to say whether the drop-top will use a rigid folding hardtop. Engines will include both Maserati’s 4.2 and 4.7-litre V8s and possibly a more efficient V6 engine.

With sales booming, Maserati expects to sell 9000 cars this year. The company’s production in the first half of 2008 are up 42 percent compared with 2007.

Maserati’s trading profit in the first half €10 million, up from a €1 million loss in the same period in 2007. Climbing sales and profitability mean that Maserati will soon start to able to self-fund investment in new models, according to insiders.

The next new model due from the Italian carmaker is a drop-top version of the new Grand Turismo, which should be seen at the Geneva show in February 2009.

Hilton Holloway

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