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Maserati Wants to Import Alfa 8C


 

 

The big news for Maserati at this year’s New York International Auto Show couldn’t be found anywhere on the stand. But senior officials revealed to TheCarConnection.com that the Italian automaker is setting its sights on re-introducing its partner brand, Alfa Romeo, to theU.S. market next year.

“Sometime” in 2008 is as close to a fixed timetable Jim Selwa, U.S. head of Maserati, was willing to give, but that should give hope to long-suffering Alfisti, who have repeatedly watched as import plans have collapsed with erstwhile Alfa partners including General Motors.

 

Don’t expect to see any of the mainstream models show up at Maserati/Alfa dealers, Selwa cautioned. Right now, the focus is on the Alfa 8C, a $200,000 supercar with a carbon-fiber body and a 4.7-liter V-8 that would, in U.S. trim, make in the neighborhood of 500 horsepower.

 

Selwa cautions there could still be hitches, and the biggest challenge is making sure the car “really is right for the U.S. market.” That could involve details as subtle as cupholders, but it also requires that the 8C be fully federalized, able to meet tough U.S. emissions and safety standards, and that remains a work in progress.

 

When Maserati was revived, a few years back, it was paired with the top-line member of the broad Fiat family, Ferrari. But in an unusual move, the group realigned things, shifting responsibility for Maserati to the Alfa wing. Selwa stressed that while the two may be paired, Maserati has no plans to share Alfa platforms and parts.

 

There’s certainly nothing Alfa in the new Gran Turismo, which had its first showing in Geneva and also appeared in New York . The coupe showed off what Selwa calls “the new family face of Maserati.” Developed by Pininfarina, which also styled the four-door Quattroporte, the Gran Turismo is a marked visual shift in directions from the old Maserati Coupe, penned by Giugiaro, the other independent Italian design house.

 

Like the 8C, Maserati has insisted on making sure the Gran Turismo is properly outfitted for the States, though the changes are subtle, when compared to the European edition. There’ll be more wood, for one thing, in the interior. Outside, the most notable difference is in the federalized “surround” for the coupe’s headlights.

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