Maserati


The History of Maserati

   

Maserati is an Italian luxury car manufacturer established on December 1, 1914, in Bologna.  The company's headquarters are now in Modena, and its emblem is a trident. It has been owned by the Italian car giant Fiat S.p.A. since 1993. Inside the Fiat Group, Maserati was initially associated with Ferrari S.p.A., but more recently it has become part of the sports car group including Alfa Romeo.
The Maserati brothers, Alfieri, Bindo, Carlo, Ettore, and Ernesto were all involved with cars from the beginning of the 20th century. Alfieri, Bindo and Ernesto built 2-litre Grand Prix cars for Diatto. In 1926, Diatto suspended the production of race cars, leading to the creation of the first Maserati and the founding of the Maserati marque. One of the first Maseratis, driven by Alfieri, won the 1926 Targa Florio. Maserati began making race cars with 4, 6, 8 and 16 cylinders (actually two straight eights mounted parallel to one another). Mario, an artist, is believed to have devised the company's trident emblem, based on one the Fontana del Nettuno, Bologna.
In 1937, the remaining Maserati brothers sold their shares in the company to the Adolfo Orsi family, who in 1940 relocated the company headquarters to their hometown of Modena, where it remains to this day.
After 1957, Maserati became more and more focussed on road cars, and chief engineer Giulio Alfieri built the 6-cylinder 3500 2+2 coupé, which featured an aluminum body over Carrozzeria Touring's superleggera structure, a design also used for the small-volume V8-powered 5000. Next came the Vignale-bodied Sebring, launched in 1962, the Mistral Coupé in 1963 and Spider in 1964, both designed by Pietro Frua, and also in 1963, the company's first four-door, the Quattroporte, designed by Frua as well. The two-seat Ghibli coupé was launched in 1967, followed by a convertible in 1969.
In 1968, Maserati was taken over by the French car manufacturer, CitroŽn. Adolfo Orsi remained the nominal president, but Maserati changed a great deal. New models were launched, and built in much greater numbers than before. CitroŽn borrowed Maserati expertise and engines for the CitroŽn SM and other vehicles, and Maseratis also incorporated CitroŽn technology, particularly in hydraulics.
The 1973 oil crisis, however, put the brakes on this ambitious expansion when the demand for fuel-hungry sports cars shrank. CitroŽn went bankrupt in 1974 and on 23 May 1975, the new controlling group PSA Peugeot CitroŽn declared that Maserati was also in administration.  Propped up by Italian government funds (GEPI, Societa di Gestioni e Partecipazioni Industriali dello Stato Italiano), the company was kept in business.
The company also worked loosely with Chrysler who purchased part of Maserati and the two jointly produced a car, the Chrysler TC by Maserati.
1993 saw the company acquired by Fiat.  Substantial investments were made in Maserati, and it has since undergone something of a renaissance.
In July 1997, Fiat Auto sold a 50% share in the company to Maserati's long-time arch-rival Ferrari (Ferrari being itself a sister company to Fiat Auto under the Fiat Group umbrella).  In 1999 Ferrari took full control, making Maserati its luxury division. A new factory was built, replacing the existing 1940s-vintage facility. Ferrari is credited for bringing Maserati back into business, after many lackluster years of Maserati teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.
In 2005 Maserati were split off from Ferrari and merged with Alfa Romeo under Fiat Auto.  In the second quarter of 2007 Maserati made profit for the first time in 17 years under Fiat Group ownership.

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