Sergio Marchionne wasn’t afraid to admit that the original launch of the Maserati Levante was a major disappointment, going as far as saying that they “sucked” at it.
During a call with investors, Fiat Chrysler’s CEO also spoke openly about the challenges the company is currently facing, including the challenges they’re facing with the launch of the 2019 Ram 1500, as reported by Motor Trend.
Retooling and getting the Sterling Heights assembly plant north of Detroit ready for the production of the new pickup truck proved more challenging and expensive than expected, adding an extra $300 million to the bottom line. Even today, the factory is running at 60 percent of its capacity, with FCA estimating it to run at full steam late this year.
As for the Levante, Maserati sold just 5.485 units in 2017, with FCA cutting production of the Italian SUV by 59 percent as the demand was simply never there. Marchionne, who thinks highly of the Levante, can’t hide his disappointment for the way the SUV was marketed and hopes that the new Levante Trofeo will be a “reset for the U.S. market.”
The terrible launch of the Levante was also one of the reasons Marchionne replaced Reid Bigland with Tim Kuniskis in the position of Maserati’s and Alfa Romeo’s global head.
The range-topping Maserati Levante Trofeo debuted at the New York Auto Show, featuring a twin-turbo 3.8-liter V8 with 581hp (590PS) and 538lb-ft (730Nm) of torque. Maserati claims it’s capable of pulling the 0-62mph (100km/h) in 3.9 seconds and accelerate beyond the 186mph (300km/h) mark.
The chassis has been updated with Maserati’s new ‘Integrated Vehicle Control’ system that prevents any vehicle instabilities before they even happen and a new ‘Corsa’ driving mode that improves the engine’s response and gear changes, as well as firm up the suspension.