- Levante SUV due in 2015, Alfieri coupe production possible "within 24-28 months"
Speaking with Reuters in Geneva, Marchionne said the company's Mirafiori plant in Italy is being readied for production now, with "the first [Levante] bodies expected for 2015".
The Levante, which first appeared as the Kubang concept, had originally been expected to debut this year, but delays have seen production pushed out to next year.
The new SUV will likely take much of its styling influence from the new Quattroporte and Ghibli sedans, suggesting the 2011 Kubang concept may see few changes before production.
Originally planned to be built in a Chrysler US factory, demand for Jeep products is now so strong that Levante production has moved (or returned) to Italy.
Engines for the Levante will likely include the Ghibli's twin-turbocharged 3.0 litre V6 developing 300kW, along with a twin-turbocharged 3.8 litre V8 engine developing 395kW.
Again like the Ghibli, a turbo-diesel engine is also expected, with all engine options linked to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The all-wheel-drive system from the Maserati Quattroporte may be used to give the Levante a sportier appeal, although Jeep is expected to have some input to ensure the Levante survives off-road.
The Levante is also expected to share its underpinnings with the Ghibli sedan, while some of the electronics will be borrowed from Chrysler products.
Maserati hopes to increase sales from the current 7000 cars per year to as high as 50,000 cars per year in the next few years, and an entrant in the booming SUV market could be just what the doctor ordered.
Alfieri 24-28 Months Away... Technically
Maserati's stunning new Alfieri coupe concept could enter production within the next two years if the company decides quickly to go ahead with the new model, Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne told Reuters this week.
"The platforms and motors are there," Marchionne said at this week's Geneva Motor Show. "Technically, production could start in 24-28 months."
Revitalised Maserati and Alfa Romeo line-ups are understood to be key to Fiat surviving in the difficult European market. The company currently has a number of idled plants in Italy, with thousands of workers on temporary layoff.
Marchionne remains optimistic for the futures of both brands however, adding that productivity at Maserati's Italian operations has improved greatly thanks to huge global demand for the new Quattroporte and Ghibli.
He said that the Alfieri, designed to "preview the next 100 years of Maserati", is a sign of things to come.
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