Following Levante Success, Maserati Will Have Its Second SUV by 2020

Maserati Levante

The Maserati expansion continues. This time around, the Italian race car maker is planning to build a second SUV as it looks to grow annual vehicle sales to 80,000 globally. To be based on Alfa Romeo underpinnings, the upcoming Maserati SUV is expected to hit the market as early as 2020.

According to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) CEO Sergio Marchionne, the model will be smaller than the Maserati Levante, the brand’s first SUV released just last year. Maserati's sales number rose from 23,900 to 36,000 in the first three quarters mainly because of the Levante, and so Marchionne has high hopes that the brand will hit 70,000 to 80,000 units a year once the second SUV arrives.

Aside from boosting sales numbers, Marchionne hopes the unreleased SUV will also push the brand's annual earnings to 1 billion euros (P61 trillion) before interest and taxes. With the second SUV, “We should be able to get there,” he said.

The SUV will use the same Giorgio rear-wheel-drive/all-wheel-drive platform found in Alfa Romeo's Stelvio Quadrifoglio SUV, although the powertrain will likely not be. In comparison, the Levante uses the same platform as Maserati's Ghibli sedan.

Having a smaller SUV in its lineup could give Maserati a slice of the highly competitive compact SUV pie, which will pit it against the likes of the Porsche Macan. Maserati does seem to take a page from its rival's playbook, after Porsche itself expanded its lineup beyond luxury sports cars and added the Macan and the smaller Cayenne to the mix.

Marchionne's announcement came this week during a conference call where he announced FCA’s earnings for the third quarter. Maserati saw international shipments improve from 10,700 to 10,900, up by 1.85 percent from the year-earlier period.

Despite growth in the North American, European, and Asian markets, Maserati's numbers were down in China, the largest automobile market in the world. During the call, Marchionne confirmed that they were reducing the number of Levante's produced to "align output with the market demand."

FCA finance chief Richard Palmer remains optimistic about Maserati's fourth quarter numbers, especially in North America. Vehicle sales normally experience a huge increase in the region during this period because it’s when US automakers release new models for next year.

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