Future Chrysler-Based Maserati SUV a Done Deal; Good Idea?
Sharing automotive platforms is still all the rage as automakers stay focused on maximizing their bang-for-the-buck, and the Chrysler/Fiat partnership is no different. All manner of possible future product plans have been swirling around the Italian/American alliance lately, and its starting to look as though one of juicier rumors -- a Chrysler-based Maserati sport-utility vehicle -- is going to become a reality.
Two weeks ago, we heard the murmurs during a financial conference call with Chrysler and Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne that a Maserati SUV was a very real possibility. The new Maserati would be underpinned by the same platform as the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango, Chrysler's WK2 architecture which is assembled at the Jefferson North plant in Detroit, Michigan. During a recent interview conducted by the Wall Street Journal, Marchionne all but lit the green light.
"This is just a great architecture," Marchionne told the WSJ. "Why wouldn't I put a Maserati on it?"
As Porsche has proved with the success of its Cayenne, MT's 2011 SUV of the Year, a sport 'ute may be just the vehicle needed to jumpstart and support the other low-volume Maserati models. The company has sold 1551 GranTurismos and Quattroportes in the United States through October this year -- a pittance, perhaps, but it's a 47-percent increase over the first 10 months of 2009. A premium performance SUV could be just the ticket to further the brand's future, especially in SUV-crazed North America.
The new Maserati SUV would reportedly launch around the globe sometime in 2013, and it would likely be manufactured alongside the Grand Cherokee and Durango within Chrysler's Jefferson North assembly plant in Detroit, Michigan. We've long seen Chrysler craft plans that leverage Fiat technologies and platforms (including a forthcoming Dodge vehicle based on the Alfa Romeo Giulietta), but this appears to be one of the first instances of the inverse.
We wish the company buona fortuna with the venture, but we'll pose it to you: is this a good move for Maserati, or is this platform sharing gone too far? Let us hear your voice by way of the comments section below.
Source: Wall Street Journal