Mike Stevens | Jan 13, 2011

Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne does not stray from an opportunity to beat the drum, and as boss of the company that owns Ferrari, Maserati and most of Chrysler, he's offered more than a few glimmers of hope to fans this week.

Speaking at the Detroit Motor Show, Marchionne confirmed that while the upcoming Maserati-badged SUV will be built on the Chrysler/Daimler-developed Jeep Grand Cherokee platform, it will be driven by Ferrari.

Describing the SUV's powertrain as a "rock and roll engine," Marchionne added that the SUV may be offered in both V8 and V12 form.

It's a move that seems appropriate, given the use of Ferrari engines and engineering in the brand's other models, the GranTurismo and the four-door Quattroporte.

Maserati's SUV is expected to go into production in the next 12 to 18 months - meaning a motorshow concept could appear as early as March's Geneva Motor Show.

A new entry in the SUV segment isn't Maserati's only motivation for the coming year, either. Earlier this year, Maserati boss Harald J Wester confirmed that a new Quattroporte is in the works, bringing all-wheel-drive and a new ZF eight-speed automatic transmission with it.

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