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Fiat Takes $1.5 Bil Gamble as it Preps Launch of Maserati SUV in Turin

Jeep-based ute was originally planned for US production.

by on Sep.05, 2013

The Maserati Levante will use the Jeep Grand Cherokee platform and a Ferrari engine.

In what it described as a major gamble, Fiat will go ahead with an investment of 1 billion euros – about $1.5 billion — in its flagship Mirafiori plant in Turin, Italy to assemble a Maserati sport-utility vehicle in a factory where work rules have been a major point of contention between the company and a key union.

The Italian partner of Detroit-based Chrysler has been threatening to shift production, indeed, even its headquarters, out of Italy if it didn’t get the sort of concessions needed to make it more competitive. CEO Sergio Marchionne is still dropping broad hints that Fiat’s corporate offices may be moved to the U.S.

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But the maker is going ahead with plans to produce the new Maserati Levante – originally known as the Kubang – in Turin, “despite the current economic and political uncertainties,” Marchionne revealed in a letter sent to the Mirafiori plant’s employees.

“Every organization and its people face important moments. Moments when it is necessary to take courageous decisions, even though the normal prudence and logic might suggest waiting.  Today is one of those moments,” Marchionne wrote.

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Maserati Betting on Larger, Faster Quattroporte

New line-up could bring Italian maker into luxury mainstream.

by on Jan.16, 2013

Maserati's new Quattroporte is longer, lower and faster than the outgoing model.

It’s one of those brand names seemingly everyone knows but few luxury buyers ever consider, a conundrum that Maserati has barely survived.  But with this week’s launch of a completely redesigned Quattroporte flagship at the North American International Auto Show – and more products to come – the Italian maker hopes to take a giant step closer to the automotive mainstream.

The outgoing Quattroporte – Italian for “four doors” – has always won raves for its svelte and seductive design. But it was something of a “tweener,” a vehicle not quite big enough to effectively compete with the products it was targeting, such as the BMW 7-Series.

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And despite the ambitious expectations of Maserati and its parent, Fiat SpA, the sedan came nowhere close to what was needed from a business case scenario.

“Three years ago, I though the lights were going to be turned out,” said Rob Allan, the maker’s U.S. product planner.

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First Look: 2013 Maserati Quattroporte

Official unveiling confirmed for Detroit Auto Show.

by on Nov.06, 2012

The look is familiar but there are plenty of changes on the 2013 Maserati Quattroporte.

One thing you can say about Maserati, the Italian maker is nothing if not ambitious.  After years of struggling to gain ground against more established luxury brands like Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and even Jaguar, it is targeting some absolutely huge growth targets for mid-decade. And to get there, the maker is planning to roll out an assortment of new and updated products that range from an updated Quattroporte sedan to an all-new luxury SUV.

We’ll get a first sense of what’s in store, it turns out, during the upcoming Detroit Auto Show, Maserati today confirming that the next-generation Quattroporte will make its debut at the annual Motor City show.

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In an advance release that included these first images, the maker suggests the redesign “reinterprets the design features of classic Maseratis in a contemporary design language. Its style was born out of the guiding design principles of Maserati: harmony of shapes, dynamism of lines, Italian elegance.”

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Maserati Reveals Detroit-made Kubang SUV

First luxury ute for Italian maker shares Jeep Grand Cherokee platform.

by on Sep.14, 2011

Maserati's Kubang Concept is expected to go into production next year.

It may sport the Italian automaker’s familiar trident logo on the oversized grille, but Maserati’s first sport-utility vehicle will be Made in Detroit, Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne confirmed during a preview at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Officially a concept, Maserati officials make no secret of their desire to get the new model into their showrooms as quickly as possible.  It will share the same underlying platform as the current Jeep Grand Cherokee but feature more sporty tuning and higher-line features that are expected to better fit the expectations of Maserati buyers.

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The final version “will unmistakably be Maserati: style, engine, suspensions, brakes, handling and performance,” Maserati officials stressed.

A production version of the long-awaited Maserati Kubang will become the latest in a growing list of high-lux SUVs – a list which includes the Porsche Cayenne and will likely be followed by a Bentley sport-ute.  Kubang is expected to become the single best-seller in Maserati ‘s U.S. line-up, company officials say.

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