Fiat is determined to make Maserati a serious player in the luxury segment. This means expanding its range, which until now, is based on just two models and their variations, considerably in order to attract new customers.
Recently, company CEO Harald Wester said the Modena-based automaker wants to increase its annual sales nearly nine times (!), to 50,000 units, until the end of 2015.
The sixth-generation Quattroporte flagship luxury saloon that has already broken cover and will make its official debut at the 2013 NAIAS next month is just the first step. It will be followed late next year by the smaller Ghibli saloon to compete with models such as the BMW 5-Series and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
In 2014, the GranTurismo will be replaced by a sportier new model and one year later, the Trident brand will launch its first-ever SUV, the Jeep Grand Cherokee-based Levante that was previewed by the 2011 Kubang concept.
According to Car & Driver, though, Maserati plans to launch a second SUV just one year after its foray into the segment.
With the Levante clearly aiming for the Porsche Cayenne customers, the new and as of yet unnamed model, will be a compact premium crossover that will target the upcoming Macan and will bow in 2016.
C&D reports that Maserati will use Fiat’s LWB U.S. wide platform, which is used in the Dodge Dart, the Fiat Viaggio and the long-overdue Alfa Romeo Giulia saloon to underpin the compact crossover, although using a Jeep platform wouldn’t seem out of place, given the company’s expertise in SUVs.
Now, Alfa Romeo has been toying with the idea of launching its own crossover for nigh a decade now, having introduced the Kamal concept in 2003 and even tested a prototype in late 2009.
This is just thinking out loud but, since the Ghibli will also spawn an Alfa Romeo variant, wouldn’t the 2016 compact SUV be an ideal candidate if Alfa decides to green-light the project? After all, when (and if) it returns to the U.S. market, having an SUV in its line-up would be great for its sales and marketing departments…
By Andrew Tsaousis