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I see this question raised a lot, especially in reviews. Purists say it's wrong to apply this name to a four door sedan, when it was always used on two door coupes in the past. But I believe if you give the situation some thought, the choice is very reasonable.

First, lets take a step back and just call the car by its project name, the M157. As we know, the M157 is based on the new Quattroporte chassis, but is essentially an all new car for Maserati in the sense that they had no other offering like it in the recent past. Also new is the fact that this is a new higher sales volume strategy for Maserati, targeting a price segment that they have not reached down to in recent history. As you can tell from all of the reviews and comments by Maserati executives during interviews, the main point that they want to drive home is "this is a pure Maserati". Even with the platform sharing, technology sharing, using a Chrysler Pentastar engine block, etc, Maserati has been very keen to emphasize the authenticity of the M157 as a Maserati.

So when you go and choose a name for a new car, your choices are to either create an all new name, or reuse an old name. Obviously, if your goal is to communicate the authenticity of the car to the brand, your only option is to reuse an old name. Looking back at Maserati's portfolio of cars, I believe the only other 4 door beside the Quattroporte was the 420, first made in 1985. Frankly, the mid 80's was not a good time for Maserati and I don't believe it is a good idea to have the new M157 take on a name rooted in that era. The 420 was not a good looking vehicle. It was quick but otherwise a very bland vehicle. It lacks the element of romance that Maserati is incorporating into their designs. The 420 name also doesn't fit with the naming convention with the rest of the current lineup.

So instead of reusing a poor name from a badly executed vehicle, they instead went looking for a name that goes all the way back to when the company was under Orsi ownership. Such a name would provide solid enough roots that even if people complained about its pronunciation or the fact that previous cars to use this name were 2 door coupes, there would be little argument that the name had pedigree and conveyed the level of authenticity that Maserati intended with the M157. Taking a look at the names from that era:

A6 - Obviously a no
3500 - Does not fit current naming convention
5000 GT - Does not fit current naming convention
Mistral - "Cold northerly wind of southern France", hmmm
Quattroporte - Taken
Sebring - Possible, but a really bad choice given that Chrysler just recently discontinued their Sebring. Aside from trademark issues, the fact that there is already platform/technology sharing between Maserati and Chrysler makes using this name on any Maserati vehicle a complete impossibility. It would completely undermine the "authenticity" intention of Maserati. The "New Chrysler, I mean Maserati, Sebring" jokes would be endless.
Mexico - Definitely not.
Ghibli - A hot, dust-carrying desert wind in North Africa

So really, the only two choices were Mistral, and Ghibli. Both winds, one is hot and from the African desert, and the other one is cold and from southern France. This comes down to personal preference, I personally like Mistral better but there might have been other considerations why they chose Ghibli instead. If you look at the original Mistral and Ghibli, the Ghibli benefits from having a more recognizable Italian design, whereas the Mistral looks more similar to British cars of the same era. The Ghibli also has the benefit of being revived in the 90s, offering a more continuous name history.

In any case, as you can see, the choice of Ghibli as the name for this new car is a lot more reasonable than one's initial reaction would allow. Given the constraints, Maserati really made what is logically the best choice to ensure the success of this new vehicle.
 

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This is prevalent in the auto industry right now, I think alot of it may have to deal with the vast size of the boomer market. Makers are trying to inject a touch of childhood memories for shoppers. Dodge is the first to come to mind with their Charger sedan. What relation does a 2013 Charger pulling daily duty as a grocery getter have in common with the '69 Charger we all loved in our dukes of hazzard days ;) Ford/Lincoln did the same with the Zephyr which was quickly scrapped for MKZ and the 500 name that lasted a year before reverting back to Taurus. Even Nissan is at reviving the Datsun name that was scrapped when the company renamed themselves Nissan..

Everyone is doing it, trying to impart an emotional aspect in the purchase decision. From a marketing standpoint it can be a very valuable tactic, for example someone whos father or uncle may of owned a Ghibli back in the day may have fond memories of the name and forms a special attachment to vehicles just based on memory alone.

Or you get the opposite and people reject the idea becasue the new model fails miserably at living up to the reputation of the old one, perfect example is the reincarnated GTO, pontiac sold maybe 4 of them as shoppers were really put off by how lackluster the new GTO was compared to the GTOs of their youth.

Its a fine line, but I think Maserati and Ghibli will be ok..
 

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It is much harder to create a new name for a car than it is to revive an old name. Many carmakers simply use an assortment of numbers and letters now (Infiniti QX50, Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG, Audi A3,) but this is boring and kind of confusing as well. Bringing back an old name is safe because the company already knows the name was successful in the past. The name has some clout and history behind it.

It's like making a superhero movie and deciding that you'll do another new batman story instead of creating an entirely new superhero.
 

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It is much harder to create a new name for a car than it is to revive an old name. Many carmakers simply use an assortment of numbers and letters now (Infiniti QX50, Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG, Audi A3,) but this is boring and kind of confusing as well. Bringing back an old name is safe because the company already knows the name was successful in the past. The name has some clout and history behind it.

It's like making a superhero movie and deciding that you'll do another new batman story instead of creating an entirely new superhero.
Yeah apparently a lot of work goes into creating a name, more than one would think. I rather have them revive a name that doesn't have much relation to the past on the new vehicle it's on than creating a new name that sounds and looks awkward.
 
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