2 December 2003

Maserati will, later this month, formally announce plans to build a new four-wheel-drive crossover model using advanced construction technology and componentry from Audi.

Ferrari and Maserati president Luca di Montezemolo told our sister publication that Audi would build the new Porsche Cayenne rival as part of a technical tie-up between the two car makers.

The new Maserati, due out in 2007, will be a development of the Kubang concept car shown last January, but Autocar sources suggest that it could change significantly from the show car.

Di Montezemolo has suggested Audi will supply Maserati with the aluminium spaceframe and body-in-white, a four-wheel-drive system, various electronic systems, and a new high-output piezo-injector-equipped version of Ingolstadt's 4.0-litre V8 diesel powerplant.

Full details are yet to be divulged, but di Montezemolo describes the deal between Maserati and Audi as more than just about production. 'It is a far broader co-operation, that's going to bring benefits to both sides,' he said.

Maseratis could even be sold through selected Audi dealerships, and there are also plans to integrate their sales into Audi's financial services, to streamline leasing and to provide more competitive credit deals for prospective buyers.

Audi should benefit from improved economies of scale for its aluminium spaceframe facility in southern Germany. Maserati will also supply know-how on low-volume production that could be used to boost the competitiveness of Bentley, Bugatti and Lamborghini.

Of potentially greater importance is a plan to supply Audi's parent company, Volkswagen, with the Quattroporte's new rear-wheel-drive platform for an upcoming estate-cum-MPV planned to fit between the Passat and Phaeton, exposed by us on 28 October.

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