Official: Maserati announces Levante as first SUV

Article by Anita Panait, on September 28, 2012

Maserati has unveiled the names of its new vehicles at the ongoing Paris Auto Show. Maserati will be naming its first sports utility vehicle as Levante and its planned mid-sized sedan as Ghibli. Maserati will be counting on the Levante and Ghibli to help boost its global sales to around 50,000 vehicles by 2015 from just 6,150 in 2011.

Maserati previewed the Levante at the 2011 Frankfurt auto show as the Kubang concept. The carmaker, a unit of Fiat, has marked the debut of the Levante in 2014, which will be built in the United States by the Chrysler Group, another subsidiary of Fiat.

The Levante will be sharing a production line and architecture with the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Maserati chose the name Levante, which means “east” in Italian, to honor its early history.  In 1919, the Maserati brothers transferred their five-year-old company to a larger facility on Via Emilia Levante, in Bologna.

The four-door Ghibli midsized sedan, on the other hand, will have its debut next spring at either the Geneva or Shanghai auto show.  Maserati first used the Ghibli name on a two-seat coupe rolled out in 1967. The carmaker, meanwhile, will retain its Quattroporte name for its four-door flagship large sedan. The company will unveil its redesigned Quattroporte at the Detroit auto show in January 2013.

Maserati will be building the redesigned Quattroporte and the Ghibli at a former Carrozzeria Bertone plant located in Turin. Fiat acquired the plant three years ago and renamed it Officine Maserati Grugliasco, after making a EUR550 million refurbishment.

The plant is part of Maserati's over EUR1 billion-investment to expand its model lineup. At peak capacity, Maserati is planning to annually produce 20,000 to 25,000 units of the Levante, about 20,000 units of the Ghibli and 12,000 Quattroportes. The company is producing its GranTurismo coupe and the GranCabrio convertible at its Moderna plant.

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