When Chrysler was developing the current Jeep Cherokee, matte black, lifted Alfa Romeo Giuliettas weren't an unusual site around the company's Auburn Hills, MI headquarters. That's because the Jeep rides on a modified version of the Alfa's platform.
Maserati appears set to take a page out of corporate sibling Ferrari's playbook with the possibility that it may cap global annual output in the coming years. Ferrari announced in 2013 that it would limit itself to 7,000 vehicles a year to maintain exclusivity, and so far, it has stuck to the plan.
The Maserati share of the big Fiat Chrysler event today was expected to be something of a snooze, at least relative to the very busy Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Alfa Romeo portions. But the truth is there was plenty to pay attention to where the premium Italian brand was concerned. After all, moving from its 15,400 unit sales in 2013 to a target of 75,000 global sales in 2018 is going to take some doing.
Maserati is on a roll. The new Ghibli and Quattroporte have been huge successes, and it unveiled the gorgeous Alfieri concept (pictured above) at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show. The next step for the brand is getting the Levante crossover into production.
Maserati has been teasing its crossover project since 2011, which is when it first showed off the Kubang concept (pictured above). Still, the production version, rumored to be called the Levante, remains a complete mystery. The CUV was first rumored to borrow the platform from the Jeep Grand Cherokee, but new rumors indicate that the Italian, luxury crossover might actually take the underpinnings from the Quattroporte and Ghibli.
Last year when Maserati revealed a plan to sell 50,000 units globally by 2015, it seemed like a pretty steep goal for an automaker that had sold just 6,300 units for the entire year. It turns out that goal may be a little on the conservative side. Through September, Automotive News Europe says the Italian automaker has already racked up 22,500 orders mainly on the backs of the redesigned Quattroporte and the all-new Ghibli, and there are still more new products in the pipeline.
In July Fiat halted its investments in Italy, putting on hold plans for the Maserati Levante SUV to be built at the automaker's flagship factory in Turin. But Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne, whose company owns Maserati, met with unions on Wednesday, and he may announce plans to move forward with production of the SUV at the Mirafiori factory if the CEO and the unions reach an agreement, Bloomberg reports.
Considering Maserati sold all of 6,300 cars globally in 2012, its goal of selling 50,000 by 2015 seemed like a bit of a stretch to say the least, but it turns the Fiat-owned automaker was on to something. Reuters is reporting that Maserati has already received about 17,000 orders for cars this year, with help from the new 2014 Quattroporte and strong demand in China.
Europe's continuing financial woe is forcing automakers to get creative, and while Fiat may be scaling back its volume vehicles, it's looking to ramp up production of the exclusive Maserati brand. Following the debut of a new Quattroporte sedan, Fiat wants to boost Maserati sales to 50,000 vehicles by 2015. Maserati may lose as much as €7 million ($9.05 million) this year, and Fiat is betting big on Chrysler platforms and dealers to turn that around.
Maserati plans on moving its ferocious exhaust note into other market segments, which we know so far include an SUV perhaps called the Cinqueporte (nee Kubang) and a sport sedan to slot under the larger, next-generation Quattroporte. Internally it is said that the new sport sedan is called "Maseratina," but an Italian publication has discovered a recent Maserati trademark for the name "Levante."