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Since Maserati unveiled the GranTurismo almost a year ago in Geneva, the question on everybody's mind has been, when is the convertible coming? The Trident marque from Modena has finally answered the call, announcing that, although it has yet to decide which show will feature its debut, the convertible will hit the market in March 2009.

Based on the GranTurismo's platform, itself shortened from the four-door Quattroporte's, the remaining question is what form the convertible will take. Although Maserati is thought to be developing a hardtop convertible, sources suggest the upcoming model will adopt a folding soft top, leaving the door open for a smaller hard-top convertible in the future.

The convertible GranTurismo will fill a void in Maserati's line-up created by the departure of the previous-generation Spyder – which ended production along with the GranSport and Coupe – and will form a vital component to achieving its sales targets. When the final figures come in later this month, Maserati expects to post its first profitable year since being taken over by the Fiat Auto Group some 17 years ago, buoyed by steadily increasing sales: In 2006 Maserati sold 5,714 units, rising to 7,353 units in 2007, anticipated to reach 9,000 in 2008, putting the company on track to reach its target of 12,000 vehicles annually by 2011.

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req'd]

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