Maserati's All-New $66,900 Ghibli Takes Aim at BMW's 5 Series

Will a cheaper Maserati steal sales from BMW and Mercedes-Benz?

Feb 9, 2014 at 10:00AM

Maserati Ghibli Frontale
Maserati Ghibli. Photo: Maserati.  

When you think of a Maserati, you probably equate it with the likes of Ferrari, and Aston Martin. While brands such as BMW (NASDAQOTH:BAMXF) and Daimler's (NASDAQOTH:DDAIF) Mercedes-Benz might also come to mind, you're probably imagining something more in line with BMW's M6 or Mercedes' SL63 AMG -- in other words, a vehicle that shouts performance, luxury, and expensive.

But while the typical Maserati, Ferrari, and Aston Martin are incredible, they don't garner the high sales volume of cars like BMW's 5 Series, or Mercedes' E-Class. So to help it achieve higher sales, Maserati built the Ghibli, a "cheaper" vehicle that's taking aim at BMW and Mercedes.

Maserati Ghibli Plancia Frontale

Maserati's Ghibli interior. Photo: Maserati.

Watch out, BMW and Mercedes
The base Ghibli features a 3.0 liter Twin-Turbo V6 that produces 345 horsepower and 369 pound-feed of torque. That allows it to go 0 to 60 in 5.5 seconds and have a top speed of 165 mph. Further, it has a curb weight of 3,992 pounds and gets an estimated combined fuel economy of 19 mpg -- not exactly the most fuel efficient, but, hey, it's a Maserati. Moreover, the Ghibli has a starting price of $66,900. That's significantly less than Maserati's next cheapest model, the Quattroporte, which starts at $102,500. 

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BMW's 5 Series. Photo: BMW.

Furthermore, according to Rides, Maserati thinks that with its base price of $66,900, the Ghibli will help push the company from "small-sports-car builder" to a full-on contender in the luxury-car sphere, and help Maserati garner sales of 50,000 cars a year, by 2015. Plus, when it comes to sales, CarAndDriver says the Ghibli will compete against BMW's 5 Series, which has a starting price of $49,500, and Mercedes' E-Class, which has a starting price of $51,400.

More importantly, the 5 Series and the E-Class are both incredibly popular and have strong sales. In fact, in 2013, globally, BMW sold 366,992 5 Series -- up 2.2% from the previous year, and Mercedes recorded 242,562 E-Class deliveries -- up 7.6% from the previous year. For Maserati, this is potentially great news, as the Ghibli moves into the mid-size, four-door, luxury sedan market. Of course, for Mercedes and BMW, this is potentially unwelcome news, as the Ghibli could steal sales.

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Mercedes' E-Class. Photo: Mercedes-Benz.

What to watch
Regardless of how the Ghibli performs in terms of sales, it's unlikely to make a significant impact on either BMW or Mercedes' bottom line. Both are strong companies, with an impressive vehicle lineup, and it's highly unlikely that Maserati's Ghibli will damage that standing. Still, it's possible that buyers considering a vehicle like Mercedes' E550 or a BMW 550i could go for the Ghibli. That, in turn, could affect sales of these vehicles, but it's still unlikely the Ghibli will steal all of those sales. Consequently, while the Ghibli looks like an impressive car, and will no doubt garner sales for Maserati, investors shouldn't be overly worried that it will negatively affect BMW or Mercedes.

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Katie Spence has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends BMW. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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