Could a Jeep give birth to a Maserati? It's quite possible -- according to Chrysler brass, the company is looking to possibly create a Fiat and Maserati SUV from the WK2 platform, which presently underpins the likes of the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee and the 2011 Dodge Durango.
According to The Detroit News, Chrysler Group and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne indicated during a financial conference call today that the company was looking to expand the use of the platform within Chrysler, but also to the company's European brands. Rumors have previously suggested an Alfa Romeo SUV was a distinct possibility, but Marchionne only suggested the WK2 could underpin both future Fiat and Maserati models. Ironically, the WK2 platform has German roots, as the architecture is adapted from that used in the Mercedes-Benz ML-Class SUV.
Seeing as Fiat has offered similar SUVs in Europe, adopting the WK2 design would arguably break more ground for Maserati, which has typically stuck to producing luxurious sports cars and sedans. Still, the company has flirted with the idea of developing a people mover in the past (the 2003 Kubang concept reportedly came close to production approval), and such a model could compete with the likes of Porsche's Cayenne range.
Regardless, it's good news for Chrysler employees, as they'd likely be charged with building any additional WK2 variants. Marchionne suggested any additional spin-offs, including those for foreign brands, could be built at the Jefferson North assembly plant in Detroit. Currently, the factory runs two shifts to build both the Grand Cherokee (including export models) and the Durango, but the automaker suggests a third shift could be added to cope with additional demand.
Source: The Detroit News