Giulio Pastore, Maserati’s European general manager, told Autocar that the success of the Levante in the burgeoning and hugely profitable SUV segment was crucial to Maserati’s plans to grow sales to 70,000 cars by 2018, and to generate enough profit to maintain investment in new products.
“We are building to 2018, when we will realise the potential of the brand,” said Pastore. “The Alfieri will represent the absolute DNA of the brand, and to build to that we must build a sustainable business. The Levante is a critical part of that; there is no life for a company that sells only sports cars, so its success is key to us.
"That is why we have invested so much in the Levante. It is our design, engineered entirely by Maserati and built to our values. It is a sports SUV with an emphasis on the sport, but with credible off-road capability and the unique Maserati qualities around style and sophistication. We will also always be more exclusive than our rivals - the Levante is something truly special."
The Levante will be built at the firm’s Mirafiori plant and be unveiled at the 2016 Geneva motor show.
Maserati boss Harold Wester has previously revealed that the Levante will be based on “100% Maserati parts” and will not borrow anything from other Fiat-Chrysler brands, including Jeep. To that end it will be based on the same platform that underpins the Ghibli and Quattroporte, will be sized and priced between those models and use the same V6 and V8 engines, transmissions and all-wheel drive system as those cars.
Speaking at the last year's Frankfurt motor show, Maserati boss Harald Wester confirmed the Levante will receive its global debut at the Geneva motor show.
He revealed that it would be based on “100% Maserati parts”, and would not borrow anything from other Fiat-Chrysler brands, including Jeep. To that end, it will be based on the same platform that underpins the Ghibli and Quattroporte, will be sized and priced between those models and will use the same V6 and V8 engines, transmissions and all-wheel drive system as those cars.
Wester, who ruled out a smaller SUV as he has no further plans to expand the range beyond the addition of the Levante and Alfieri sports car, said the Levante would sport many new features and innovations which would then drip down through the Maserati range.
Among these would be plug-in hybrid drivetrains, which will be offered in the Levante, Ghibli and Quattroporte from late 2017/early 2018, with appearances in the Alfieri and GranTurismo replacement likely. Diesels would continue to be offered in Maseratis following the launch of plug-ins, Wester confirmed, although they will not be in the sports models.
He said the production Levante would be “different in every way” from the concept car of the same name shown at the 2011 Frankfurt motor show. It will have strong off-road ability “better than competitors”, Wester revealed, and would be as capable off road as a non-Trail Rated Jeep.
Wester revealed that SUV coupés were not in the Maserati plans, as he has no desire to fill niches with Maseratis. “We need to be a 100% SUV,” he said.
Wester also revealed that replacements for the GranTurismo and GranCabrio sports GT models were in the works and would arrive around the same time as the Alfieri in 2017.