Strong results for Maserati

Published: 27 July 2007

This week has thrown up some surprising financial results for struggling car manufacturers from all corners of the industry.

Last February, at the release of the Quattroporte Automatica saloon, chief exec Roberto Ronchi promised an end to Maserati’s financial woes. Five months later, the Italian supercar maker sees black for the first time in its 17-year Fiat stewardship. It announced this week with a €1m trading profit (around £669,500). It's not a massive profit by any means, but it's great news for Maserati, which this time last year reported a €7m (£4.5m) loss for the quarter. Equally welcome news is that Maserati has broken even in the first half of the year; in the same period in 2006 it was down a soul-destroying €26m (£17m). Why is the Trident brand on the up? The Quarttroporte is proving successful in Europe, with sales up almost 40 percent; the arrival of the Granturismo should ensure Maser hits production of 7600 cars this year.

At the other end of the spectrum, volume car maker Ford has also announced an end to 21 months of losses, when it announced this week a net profit of $750m (£366m). Shares in the Blue Oval rose almost 3 percent overnight. The second biggest North American car maker astonished Wall Street analysts who had Ford pegged to make an eighth consecutive loss for this quarter. It seems like the restructuring of Ford could slowly be bearing fruit, as it closes 16 plants and axes 45,000 jobs. It's not all party poppers and champagne in Ford's Dearborn headquarters though. Sales worldwide are down 33,000 so far this year, and it's in the midst of restructuring its PAG premium car division. There's still no word on whether Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo will go the same way as Aston Martin, whom Ford sold in March.