Maserati is in desperate need of a sales boost following its 17th year of running at loss, and the lucrative US market is probably its best chance of reaching its goal of turning over a profit this year. Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne boasted that "Maserati will finally return to profitability in 2007” to an audience of financial analysts after announcing last year’s results, and has previously claimed that the Italian marque would move up to 12,000 units per year by 2011. Automotive consultants CSM Worldwide presents a more modest picture of around 8,000 vehicles by 2013, still a significant leap from last year’s 5,500.

The Detroit News now reports that Maserati will likely join forces with sister-brand Alfa Romeo, which is expected to return in 2009 following the launch of its exclusive 8C Competizione supercar late next year. Alfa models are expected to be sold out of Maserati dealerships, helping to lift the profile of both brands. The first Alfa model, the 8C, will arrive late next year with a 450bhp 4.7L V8 and will cost upwards of $200,000. This will be followed by the 159 sedan and Brera Coupe.

Maserati’s range will continue with the recently updated Quattroporte Automatic saloon, which now gets ZF’s silky smooth six-speed gearbox mated to the familiar 400bhp 4.2L V8. Coming soon will be the new Maserati GranTurismo Coupe as well as a rumoured entry-level sports coupe.

However, a major thorn in Maserati’s side is the looming European emissions standards that could force carmakers to reduce their average carbon-dioxide levels. European carmakers have set a voluntary target of 140g/km by 2008 but the European Union has decided to reduce this to 130g/km by 2012.