3 November 2011
The Italian government is at the centre of Europe's economic crisis but that hasn't stopped it spending an estimated $2.5 million on a new fleet of armoured Quattroportes. Italy's Ministry of Defence has been forced to defend its decision to purchase 19 Maserati limousines at a time when the government is cutting billions in public spending in response to the European debt crisis.
The four-door Maserati Quattroportes, which start from $118,000 in Italy and are powered by a 4.2-litre V8 engine, are reportedly replacing the ministry's fleet of Audis and Lancias. They have been armour-plated for additional protection. The MP for the opposition Democratic party, Emanuele Fiano, has questioned the government's move.
"At a time when millions of Italians are being affected by a very serious economic crisis, is there a good reason for the defence minister to add 19 armoured Maseratis to the ministry's car park?" Fiano is reported to have asked the Italian parliament. Italy's defence minister, Ingazio La Russa, has accused the opposition of a "witch hunt", claiming the Maseratis were purchased using funds from the 2008-2009 budget and therefore before the introduction of cuts by the Silvio Berlusconi government.