Maserati betting big on Levante SUV

In 2014, Maserati was booming thanks to a sales spike, and executives contemplated capping production. The company's fortunes, however, have changed quickly this year. Its sales dropped 13 percent globally to 8,281 cars in the second quarter, and earnings were down 30 percent, according to Automotive News. This performance has led the company to pin its future hopes on the launch of the Levante crossover.

The Levante arrives in the first half of 2016. An official debut is scheduled for sometime this year, according to the company's five-year plan, though the unveiling might be pushed back until the 2016 Detroit auto show in January, Automotive News reports. The Levante shares a platform with the Ghibli and reportedly will use its V6 engines. The crossover also is expected to have all-wheel drive. Patent drawings suggest a look reminiscent of the earlier Kubang concept (pictured above).

FCA explains some of Maserati's current weakness is due to problems in China. Deliveries were down 37 percent there in the second quarter, according to Automotive News, and the country's weak economy isn't expected to let up soon.

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