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Bill Radke: We’ve sure told you plenty of stories on this program about consumers not consuming. Some of them are unemployed, others are in debt. So why are some of them are at a Maserati dealership? From WUWM in Milwaukee, Erin Toner reports.
Erin Toner: Last year, a British insurance company called Hiscox did a study to find the sexiest-sounding car. Men and women listened to luxury car engines. Then, they had their testosterone levels tested. The more testosterone, the more arousal.
This car was the winner — the Maserati GranTurismo S — a car with all the finest things, like a suede-covered steering wheel and hand-stitched Italian leather. It has long, sleek lines, and a hood that curves up on the sides and then dips down to form a wide nose. It’s on the lot at International Maserati in Waukesha, Wis., part of a luxury car group.
JASON GREEN: So how much does this car go for? Um, it’s not much if you say it fast, $145,000.
But there is a market for these cars, even now, and even in Wisconsin. This Maserati showroom — the only one in the state — is near wealthy suburbs outside Milwaukee, so if the cars are going to sell in Wis., they’re probably going to sell here. Jason Green’s sold two so far.
GREEN: You know people aren’t retiring like they were, they’re working harder and longer and there’s a lot of stress and I think that a brand like this and what this represents is not some kind of, you know, ostentatious whim, as much as just enjoying the moments that you’re behind the wheel of a car.
And it’s not just Maseratis going out the door. This dealer sold 27 Porsches in April, May and June, and other luxury models had record-setting months in the spring. Mark Sweeny’s looking around the lot this morning. He’s an engineer from Wausau, Wis.
MARK SWEENEY: I think the GranTurismo is hopefully my next car.
Right now, Sweeney drives a ’99 Porsche 911, but today, he has eyes for a jet black Maserati.
SWEENEY: It’s just sexy. The sound, the shapes, exclusivity. There’s not much like that in Wausau, I’ll tell you that.
Or many other places. Maserati sends just 1,500 cars to the U.S. for sale every year.
In Milwaukee, I’m Erin Toner for Marketplace.
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