The world may be reeling under the excruciating pressure of the Covid-19 pandemic, but Maserati is gearing itself for a busy 2020 despite the challenging conditions.
This year, the automaker will be looking to launch new and special edition vehicles in South Africa, as well as upping the ante in what the brand already offers its clients.
Maserati's plans, however, cater to both the South African market and the global one. These plans will affect every market Maserati does duty in, and there are even rumours of the legendary Italian brand making a return to motorsport - in some way or form.
The company was founded on December 1, 1914 by the Maserati brothers: Alfieri, Ettore, and Ernesto. Together, the trio ran their engineering workshop in Bologna, Italy, where they performed alterations to cars built by other automakers.
Their workshop, called 'Officine Alfieri Maserati' - named after the brother who began it all - turned their focus away from serving others and began designing, constructing, and selling its own cars. This was in 1926, and Maserati only grew in stature and size.
In 2014, Maserati celebrated its centennial, and in just a few more, they'll commemorate 100 years of building their own products.
2020 Maserati Quattroporte. Image: Maserati Media
The big one: MC20
Initially scheduled for a reveal in May this year, Maserati will launch its all-new MC20 in Italy sometime during September. The decision was taken to combat the coronavirus, but it will do very little to deter the excitement around the car.
Like the first car the Maserati brothers built in 1926, the MC20 will be constructed entirely by the automaker. No sharing of parts with any of the partners under the FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) banner. The MC20 is a personification of everything Maserati stands for and will encapsulate performance, craftsmanship, a beautiful design, and a sound unique to the brand.
Rens Rademeyer, dealer principal of Maserati Johannesburg, says: "The biggest news for 2020 is undoubtedly the launch of the Maserati MC20, an all-new Maserati designed and built super sports car and the spiritual successor to the MC12.
"From our conversations with Maserati HQ in Italy, this (the September launch) will also be the event where Maserati will talk about its future product line-up and new technologies, which will include hybrid and all-electric ranges. Locally, we will share the news as soon as we can, especially when our first MC20 arrives. In the meantime, we have a different beast to show our local customers and the media."
2014 Maserati MC12. Image: Getty Images
Ferrari-power for Levante
The Levante is Maserati's first SUV and was launched in South Africa in 2017. Back then, only a 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine powered the range, but petrol engines followed in due course. For 2020, Maserati is upping the ante by shoving a twin-turbo V8 engine under the bonnet.
The engine, built by Ferrari under Maserati specifications, is said to produce 441kW - resulting in a power-to-weight ratio of 116kW/litre!
Maserati South Africa did confirm that the first consignment of Trofeo models arrived locally before the lockdown came into effect, and every single unit is sold out. There is some good news, though.
Rademeyer says: "While our first consignment of Trofeo models is sold out, we have kept the numbered launch edition - in the stunning Blu Emozione Matte colour, with custom inscribed door sills - for test drives at our dealership."
For now, the Trofeo nameplate and engine will only be used on the Levante.
2020 Maserati Levante Trofeo. Image: Maserati Media
The Royale series
In 1986, Maserati launched its first Royale model: an ultra-luxurious Quattroporte (Royale). It was a hit among the who's who of the time, and some of Italy's most prominent names chose it as their mode of transport. These names included that of Luciano Pavarotti and then-president, Sandro Pertini.
In 2020, the Royale Series will make its return and will be available on the Quattroporte, Levante, and Ghibli. The Royale program allows Maserati clients to further differentiate their vehicles from the 'standard' models. While the list of customisable options is almost endless, the Royale program kicks off with luxuries such as unique 21-inch wheels, an intricate and soft-woven Nappa leather upholstery, and a choice between two Royale colours: Blu Royale and Verde Royale (deep green). All as standard.
"If you have something else in mind, then I would invite you to our Maserati configuration lounge at our official dealership showroom in Bryanston," Rademeyer notes. "Here you can touch and feel different types and styles of wood, leather, and carbon fibre. Once you have decided, we match it to our factory customisation portal and show you what your very own Maserati will look like."
2020 Maserati Ghibli. Image: Maserati Media
The rest of the year
Regarding Maserati's motorsport announcement, HQ in Italy is still pretty coy about its plans. It's a certainty that the automaker wants to reassert itself into the motorsport scene and build on the successes of the past.
In Formula 1, Maserati won the 1957 championship with the legendary Juan Manual Fangio behind the wheel of the 250F. From 1937 to 1940, it won the Targa Florio championship. In 1939 and 1940, the automaker won the Indianapolis 500.
Fair enough, the motorsport game has been moved forward leaps and bounds since these victories, but Maserati's presence will no doubt contribute to any genre it plans on competing in.
An important question posed to Maserati SA was how the global pandemic would affect business locally. To this, Rademeyer remained optimistic and upbeat about the situation, crediting the automaker's resilience to tough times throughout its 100-year heritage.
Rademeyer concludes: "We are very fortunate that the Maserati brand is well-established in South Africa and both here and abroad our core values and Italian heritage has outlasted previous tough times. It is safe to say that the world will be different after this pandemic, and we will face it with our Maserati Famiglia (family) with the same passion and drive we have always had."
Maserati's model line-up. Image: Maserati Media