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Maserati Ready to Reveal Jeep-Based Luxury SUV

Unveiling at Frankfurt - two other products may also debut.

by on Aug.05, 2011

Maserati aims to grow global sales nearly tenfold.

Maserati is expected to pull the wraps off its eagerly awaited SUV at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show, several well-placed sources have confirmed, while there are reports the Italian automaker might also reveal two new sedans, as well.

The three models are key pieces in the grand expansion that is planned for Fiat’s luxury subsidiary, which is looking to boost its global sales volume almost tenfold in the coming years.

The sport-utility vehicle, in particular, reveals the significant changes underway not only at Maserati but throughout the Fiat empire.  The new model will share its underpinnings with the latest-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee, and will roll off the same assembly line along the Detroit riverfront.

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Under terms of the 2009 bailout of Chrysler, Fiat took a 20% stake in the U.S. maker – which it expects to steadily expand to a 70% share within the next couple years.  A recent shake-up effectively consolidated the management of the trans-Atlantic allies and Sergio Marchionne, who serves as CEO of the two companies, has ordered a consolidation of their product development programs, as well.

Already, a number of U.S.-made products have appeared wearing Lancia and Fiat badges in Europe, including the flagship Lancia Thema, a version of the Chrysler 300.


Chrysler Will Pay Back “Every Cent” to Taxpayers, Says Marchionne

Reorganized Chrysler won’t “bleed to death” in a downturn.

by on Jan.13, 2011

Chrysler CEO Marchionne loosens up during a roundtable at the Detroit Auto Show.

Chrysler plans to pay back “every cent” of the money it was loaned by the federal government, said CEO Sergio Marchionne, and it will almost certainly do that before the IPO the executive said he wants to hold in the second half of 2011.

Chrysler is already planning to cover about $2.0 billion of the remaining $5.6 billion in loans from Washington, said Marchionne, who also serves as CEO of Chrysler’s Italian affiliate, Fiat.  Meanwhile, the maker will soon pay down $600 million of the remaining $1.5 billion it owes the Canadian treasury.

“It would be advantageous to repay it all” before an IPO, said the Canadian-educated Marchionne, during a meeting with reporters.  “It would have better optics” in the eyes of potential investors – and would also make it possible for Fiat to increase its stake in Chrysler from the current 20% to a majority 51%.

Earlier this week, Ron Bloom, the Obama Administration’s “car czar,” said that could not happen without complete recovery of the outstanding Chrysler loans.


Chrysler May Build SUVs for Alfa-Romeo or Maserati

Maker continues integrating U.S. and Italian brands.

by on Nov.09, 2010

New versions of the Jeep Grand Cherokee could be developed for Maserati or Alfa-Romeo, says Chrysler/Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne.

Chrysler could wind up building a special sport utility vehicle for Maserati, using a Ferrari powertrain on the basic architecture of the latest-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee, which was itself completely redesigned for 2011.

Sergio Marchionne, Chrysler’s chief executive officer, threw open the doors to the possibility Chrysler could build a Maserati model during a conference call with reporters and analysts to discuss the U.S. maker’s third-quarter earnings report.  A Jeep-based Alfa-Romeo model was also offered up as a concept under consideration.

Chrysler lost $84 million in the third quarter and is paying steep interest costs but the numbers are otherwise moving in the right direction, Marchionne said, as he raised the guidance on the company’s operating profit for the full year. (For more on Chrysler earnings, Click Here.)

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Marchionne said the company also has to get serious about launching an initial public offering of stock, following cross-town rival General Motors, which expects to return to public trading later this month.

Such a move would likely come next year, said Marchionne, “Probably not in the first half of the year but definitely in the second half.”