Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne said that the company plans to begin production of bodies for the new Maserati Levante SUV next year at the Mirafiori plant in northern Italy.
Previewed by the 2011 Maserati Kubang study, the SUV will be a very important model for Maserati’s revival and for Fiat’s European profitability. Maserati saw good results last year, with deliveries more than doubling to 15,400 vehicles and trading profit tripling. However, the brand still has a long way to go before hitting its 2015 target of 50,000 deliveries. But so far, the signs are positive.
“We are getting Mirafiori ready for production. The first bodies are expected for 2015,” Marchionne was quoted as saying by Reuters at the Geneva auto show. He also said that the stunning Maserati Alfieri concept car, based on the GranTurismo MC Stradale chassis, could be produced in 28 months if the company decides to give it the green light.
“The platforms and motors are there. Technically, production could start in 24-28 months,” Marchionne noted. He didn’t say whether the Alfieri 2+2 coupe would also be produced at Mirafiori, but given that the Turin facility is one of Fiat’s production plants for luxury brands that could be an option.
The executive said he is optimistic about the Maserati’s future, adding that the Alfieri sports car provides an “indication of things to come”. Together with the re-launch of the Alfa Romeo brand, the revival of the Maserati brand represents a key element of Fiat’s plan to return to profitability in Europe by 2016.
By Dan Mihalascu