Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is planning to commence production of bodies for the new Maserati Levante at its Mirafiori site in Italy in 2015, said chief executive Sergio Marchionne. The revival of the luxury brand as well as the relaunch of the Alfa Romeo marque is vital part of Fiat's efforts to turn around to profitability in Europe by 2016.
In 2013, Maserati tripled its trading profit and more than doubled its deliveries to 15,400 vehicles. That is still a long ride for a target of 50,000 Maserati sales by 2015 and also not enough on its own to transform Fiat's bottom line. Analysts, however, that Maserati's hiked profit means good news for the revival of the Alfa Romeo brand.
"We are getting Mirafiori ready for production (of the Maserati SUV). The first bodies are expected for 2015," Marchionne remarked on the sidelines of the Geneva auto show. Fiat originally planned to build the Levante in Detroit, but Marchionne said in 2013 that it would produce the Maseratis and Alfa SUVs in Italy.
Likewise, Marchionne recently said that production of the Maserati Alfieri coupe – which prototype was unveiled at the show -- could start within 28 months if it decides to go ahead with the concept car.
"The platforms and motors are there," Marchionne said. "Technically, production could start in 24-28 months." The success of a Maserati-Alfa Romeo revival will determine whether Fiat could survive a slumping European market, enabling the carmaker to revive idled site in Italy and reinstate workers placed on temporary layoff schemes.