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Big Price, Big Goal for New Maserati Levante

New SUV expected to nearly double luxury brand’s sales.

by on Apr.19, 2016

The production version of the Maserati Kubang debuts during a media drive in Italy.

After a long wait, Maserati is finally set to deliver its first SUV to customers next month, the global roll-out of the new Levante set to begin in Europe, with China and the U.S. to follow later in the year.

The launch marks the end of an unusually long gestation, the luxury SUV originally introduced in the form of the Maserati Kubang concept in 2003. Under the Levante nameplate, the production model will carry a U.S. price tag starting at $72,000, officials revealed during a media drive of the new model.

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The Levante will be one of the most important models ever to wear Maserati’s distinctive trident logo and, officials said, they expect it to be the biggest seller in the brand’s 102-year history, accounting for nearly half of Maserati’s total volume once production gets fully up to speed in 2017.


Maserati Joins Luxury SUV Crowd with Debut of Levante

Production launched, U.S. sales set to begin in September.

by on Mar.01, 2016

Maserati introduced its much-delayed and first-ever SUV, the Levante, at the Geneva Motor Show.

It’s been a long time in coming – a dozen years since we got our first look at the oddly named Maserati Kubang concept. It’s finally back in production form, making its debut as the only slightly less curious Maserati Levante.

The Levante becomes the first SUV in the Italian maker’s long history, and the latest addition to a growing line-up of luxury utes that will eventually include offerings from high-line brands as diverse as Aston Martin, Ferrari, Rolls-Royce and Bentley, the latter just rolling out its first off-roader, the Bentayga.

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Originally intended to be little more than a gussied-up Jeep Grand Cherokee, the new Maserati Levante is “100% Maserati,” instead relying on a heavily modified version of the brand’s latest platform which also serves as the foundation for the Ghibli and Quattroporte sedans. The one exception is the top-line engine that will have its origin in the Ferrari plant not far from Maserati’s own assembly line. (more…)

First Look: 2017 Maserati Levante

Premium SUV set to offer an array of engine options.

by on Feb.22, 2016

The production 2017 Maserati Levante.

With the Geneva Motor Show launch of the new 2017 Levante next month, Maserati will become the newest entrant into the super-premium SUV market, a segment that is set to see an explosion of new product over the next several years.

Originally introduced as the Kubang concept vehicle at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, the idea was to borrow from the best of the Fiat Chrysler family, lifting bits of the familiar Grand Cherokee platform and pairing it was a Ferrari-derived V-8.

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“At a technical level, the Levante’s chassis is designed to combine the outstanding on-road performance typical of every Maserati with unrivalled handling even on very low-grip surfaces and an excellent off-road performance and ride,” Maserati declared in a statement accompanying these images.


Fiat Chrysler Earnings Slide 40%

Major product realignment set to take place.

by on Jan.27, 2016

Jeep was one of the few real bright spots for Fiat Chrysler last year, especially in the US.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles fourth quarter earnings tumbled by 40%, to $2.2 billion, during the fourth quarter, and for the full-year – a decline would have been even more severe without the contribution of exotic sports carmaker Ferrari, which FCA recently spun off.

The automaker’s results were hammered by slowing global sales, especially in both Latin America, though it did finally get its Jeep brand back into contention with the opening of a new assembly plant in China. And Jeep again scored well in the U.S. where plunging oil prices have spurred a surge in demand for utility vehicles.

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The earnings report was released just hours before FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne was set to reveal a product shake-up designed to adjust to changing global market conditions, including the slowdown in the long-booming Chinese market. Among other things, that is likely to mean a slower ramp-up for the long-struggling Alfa Romeo brand, with more emphasis on Jeep and other truck and utility vehicle lines.


Maserati, Alfa Romeo to Get a Flood of New Products

Two Italian brands stand to score big under Fiat Chrysler 5-year plan.

by on May.07, 2014

A production version of the Maserati Alfieri Coupe Concept should reach market in 2016.

It’s been a frustratingly long wait for fans of Italy’s Alfa Romeo, two decades of hints and promises that the brand was finally heading back to the U.S. market followed by repeated delays – Alfa only showing off its new 4C sports car at last month’s New York Auto Show.

While Maserati fans have had a little more to cheer about, the upscale brand has only just begun to show its potential with recent product launches like the new Ghibli and redesigned Quattroporte.

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But the two marques seem destined to have a much brighter, product-rich future. At this week’s day-long strategy session, officials from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles outlined plans that could see a flood of new products roll into showrooms for both Maserati and Alfa. In fact, the latter maker is set to benefit from a newly unveiled “skunk works program” that is expected to yield a full eight new models by 2018.


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.


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.