Maserati Levante SUV Production Scheduled To Start in 2015
Niche Brand's Volume Play Gets European Birthplace
When it comes to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and all its subsidiary brands, you'd better not blink or else you'll be catching up with yesterday's news. FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne confirmed to Reuters that production of the Maserati Levante SUV should commence at the company's Mirafiori plant in Turin in 2015.
After initial reports that the upcoming Maserati SUV would be based on the Jeep Grand Cherokee and be built on the same line in Detroit at the Jefferson North Assembly plant, the gameplan for Maserati's volume model changed to bring production back to Italy. While North American production would have made sense logistically for what will likely be one of the vehicle's largest single markets, Marchionne is in the middle of a politically sensitive scenario with widespread unemployment in Italy and Europe and fears among many that production of vehicles in Italy, save for the ultra-exclusive Ferrari brand and Maserati sedan and coupe models, could be outsourced largely to lower-cost areas such as Eastern Europe and North America.
Specific details on the platform and powertrains for the future SUV have not yet been officially announced, but the likely engine options are a turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 as the base engine, as in the current Ghibli sedan, a high-output 3.0-liter V-6 diesel, also out of the Ghibli, and the 3.8-liter turbocharged V-8 out of the Quattroporte as the top engine option. The Levante may share some platform components with the Grand Cherokee, but could just as likely use a modified version of the Ghibli's rear-drive chassis, a variation of which is expected to underpin future Dodge Charger, Challenger, and Chrysler 300 models.
Source: Reuters UK