Report: Maserati orders triple on strength of Quattroporte demand in China

Filed under: Car Buying, Sedan, China, Maserati, Luxury

2014 Maserati Quattroporte S Q4

Considering Maserati sold all of 6,300 cars globally in 2012, its goal of selling 50,000 by 2015 seemed like a bit of a stretch to say the least, but it turns the Fiat-owned automaker was on to something. Reuters is reporting that Maserati has already received about 17,000 orders for cars this year, with help from the new 2014 Quattroporte and strong demand in China.

The US continues to be the top market for Maserati sales, but the report quotes Harald Wester, brand chief executive, as saying that China is now the top market for Quattroporte. As big of an improvement as this is it bears mentioning that the Ghibli isn’t even on sale yet and the Levante SUV, a redesigned GranTurismo and a new 911-fighting coupe are still waiting in the pipeline.

Maserati orders triple on strength of Quattroporte demand in China originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 30 Aug 2013 17:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: VŪHL says it has enough orders to put 05 roadster into production [w/video]

Filed under: Convertible, Performance, Plants/Manufacturing, MISC

Vuhl 05

If we had a nickel for every independent sportscar project started by people we’d never heard of and that never came to fruition, well… we might actually have enough money to put one of them into production. But every once in a while we end up pleasantly surprised. And we just might be by the VŪHL 05.

The project, as you may recall, is the brainchild of a pair of Mexican brothers based in Detroit, and calls for a lightweight track car along the lines of the Ariel Atom, KTM X-Bow or BAC Mono. VŪHL Automotive launched the 05 just last month at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, where it was driven up Lord March’s lawn by F1 driver Esteban Gutierrez. Its featherlike 1,500-pound curb weight is motivated by a 2.0-liter turbo four sourced from Ford and mounted amidships, driving 285 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque through a six-speed manual to the rear wheels for a claimed 0-62 time of 3.7 seconds.

The numbers sound impressive enough, and have apparently impressed enough customers that VŪHL is putting it into production as planned. The initial run will consist of twenty Edition One models, which VŪHL will start building in November for delivery next spring. In the meantime, the Echeverria brothers will be taking their creation to London to rub shoulders with supercars at the Salon Privé. Scroll down to watch the video below, where you’ll also find a press release.

Continue reading VŪHL says it has enough orders to put 05 roadster into production [w/video]

VŪHL says it has enough orders to put 05 roadster into production [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 22 Aug 2013 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Too much? Chinese customer orders $670k gilded Fiat 500

Filed under: Convertible, China, Luxury, Fiat

Fiat 500C La Dolce Vita by Fenice Milano

Fiat 500C “La Dolce Vita” – Click above for high-res image gallery, follow the jump for video

The beauty of the Fiat 500 is that it’s loaded with Italian style, but comes cheaper than anything this side of a Vespa. So if you were in the market, how much would you consider spending on a Cinquecento? $20K? Maybe $30k for a fully-loaded Abarth? How about €500,000? That’s equivalent to about $670,000, and stands as the absurd price some anonymous Chinese businessman has apparently paid for a particularly opulent tacky example of the retro minicar.

The order came to Fenice Milano, the Italian studio whose Liberace-grade work we’ve reported on previously. They started with a 500C Abarth convertible, slathered it in paint infused with real 24k gold flakes, decked the interior out in teak, replaced the brightwork with more 24k gold and gave it a diamond-studded iPad docking into the dashboard. And just for good measure, they let Romeo Ferraris have at it. Their tuning jacked the stock 140-horsepower engine up to 200 hp, and they added Brembo brakes and a custom suspension for good measure.

The end result is about as nauseating an example of nouveau-riche excess as you’re likely to find. If the owner thinks that by tying in his investment to a solid commodity like gold to stave off the negative effects of depreciation, he may be in for a rude awakening come resale time. Check out the video footage after the jump and the updated high-resolution image gallery below.

Gallery: Fiat 500C “La Dolce Vita” by Fenice Milano

[Source: Fenice Milano via CarScoop]

Continue reading Too much? Chinese customer orders $670k gilded Fiat 500

Too much? Chinese customer orders $670k gilded Fiat 500 originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 22 Jan 2011 10:05:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Ford Explorer orders nearly double expectations

Filed under: Car Buying, Crossover, Ford

2011 Ford Explorer

2011 Ford Explorer – Click above for high-res image gallery

The 2011 Ford Explorer is a drastic departure from its predecessors, ditching body-on-frame construction in favor of a unibody structure, and sharing its platform with the Taurus sedan (as well as the Flex, Lincoln MKS and MKT). This shift to a traditional crossover construction has not turned away buyers, however, and Ford reports that Explorer pre-orders have nearly doubled original projections.

According to The Detroit News, Ford has received roughly 15,000 orders for the 2011 Explorer. This includes about 3,000 retail and 7,500 dealer orders, as well as an additional 4,500 orders from companies.

Jason Mase, Ford’s manager of utility vehicles, told The Detroit News that about 55 percent of buyers are opting for the trailer tow package, and 64 percent want all-wheel drive. Mase says that consumers don’t really care if the vehicle is a crossover or an SUV, the major concern is that the vehicle fits their specific needs. So far, so good, and Ford expects this trend to continue after the Explorer officially hits dealerships in early 2011.

Gallery: 2011 Ford Explorer Southern California Live Debut

Photos copyright (C)2010 Drew Phillips / AOL

[Source: The Detroit News]

Report: Ford Explorer orders nearly double expectations originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 28 Nov 2010 09:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2010 German Grand Prix: Tussles, team orders and tire wear [SPOILERS]

Filed under: Motorsports, Racing

2010 German Grand Prix

2010 German Grand Prix – Click above for high-res image gallery

The Formula One World Championship passed the halfway point with the British Grand Prix two weeks ago, and while Red Bull and McLaren have been the teams to beat of late, several others are showing signs of marked improvement, Ferrari being but one of them. Heading into qualifying for the German Grand Prix, the Maranello squad was telling anyone who would listen that they were in it to the very end. After all, the Scuderia had taken the top step of the podium in the first round of the season and Fernando Alonso was fifth in the drivers’ standings.

Of course, there were still two Red Bull drivers and two McLaren drivers ahead of him, none of whom are mailing it in for the remaining nine races. Vettel, Hamilton and Button have each racked up two wins in 2010, and last week’s victor, Mark Webber, has posted three. If Ferrari, and Alonso in particular, were going to get back into the hunt, they needed a great showing in Hockenheim. There was good news for the tifosi: Fernando was quickest through much of practice heading into the Sunday feature. Would his speed hold through qualifying? And would Ferrari truly take that big step everyone has been anticipating? Follow the jump to read how things went down.

Gallery: 2010 German Grand Prix

[Images: Matthias Schrader, Martin Meissner, Michael Probst, Jens Meyer, /AP | Guillaume Baptiste/AFP/Getty Images]

Continue reading 2010 German Grand Prix: Tussles, team orders and tire wear [SPOILERS]

2010 German Grand Prix: Tussles, team orders and tire wear [SPOILERS] originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 25 Jul 2010 14:04:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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