Union sources divulged to Automotive News Europe that Fiat will produce Maserati's new Levante SUV at its flagship Mirafiori plant in Turin. Furthermore, this factory will assemble an SUV for Alfa Romeo too. Last Sunday, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne said that Fiat will manufacture Maserati and Alfa Romeo models at Mirafiori, ensuring the future of the under-used factory.
He declined to reveal what models will be produced in the plant. Sources said that Fiat is likely to soon make an announcement about what Mirafiori will be building this summer. It’s expected that the Levante will make its debut in 2014 as the first SUV of Maserati. This model, which competes with the Porsche Cayenne, will be built on the same underpinnings as the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The first SUV from Alfa Romeo is scheduled to arrive at showrooms in 2015.
This launch is included in Marchionne’s recent moves to convert Alfa into a global luxury brand that would rival Audi. Fiat is planning to reopen its Italian plants to make Jeeps, Maseratis and Alfa Romeos to be exported since it is increasingly dependent on overseas sales to offset the decreasing demand in Italy. Last Sunday, Marchionne said in an interview in Turin that he has made a pledge to not close Mirafiori.
The company is likely to build luxury cars for Maserati as well as for Alfa Romeo. Mirafiori has recently just been operating a few days each month. Last December, Fiat said that it will invest around 1.2 billion euros to relaunch Maserati. There had been plans to expand the Maserati and Alfa Romeo brands but these have failed.
Last Sunday, Marchionne said that Chrysler's dealerships in the U.S. (which come to about 2,300 dealers) will make up for the difference. Marchionne denied that Fiat isn’t able to compete in the luxury segment, considering its track record at Ferrari. He also said that the Enzo replacement, the world's most expensive car, will be introduced this March at the Geneva auto show.