The ink is hardly dry on Maserati’s decision to produce one crossover SUV, but Car and Driver reports that another one is coming. Maserati has toyed with the idea of making an SUV for years.
Recently, Fiat committed to making a large investment into the brand, with the goal of growing sales to 50,000 units per year globally. Access to the Chrysler Group’s platforms has made developing an SUV more of a feasible possibility.
Purists are up in arms, but Maserati is preparing the Levante SUV, which is based on the Jeep Grand Cherokee platform and will be built here in the United States. This model’s styling was previewed by the Kubang concept. Inspiration for the Kubang was clearly drawn from the success of the mid-sized Porsche Cayenne. Those paying attention will know that Porsche is readying another crossover model, the Macan, which is based on the Audi Q5 platform. Going smaller means a more athletic driving experience as well as more practical considerations such as efficiency.
Given that Maserati intends to compete with Porsche head on, capturing sales in the segment is a priority for the company. If purists were mad about the Levante, just wait until the smaller crossover arrives. C&D reports that the as-yet-unnamed new crossover will be based on the Compact U.S Wide. This platform underpins the Alfa Romeo Giulia and the Dodge Dart.
This is a platform designed primarily for front-wheel drive small models, but it is able to accommodate all-wheel drive as well. We would hope that the Maserati model will be available only with AWD. You have got to draw the line somewhere.
Hopefully, Maserati will be able to grow its sales while still retaining its unique character. Maserati’s more mainstream focus begins with the redesigned 2014 Quattroporte. The car is expected to sell 13,000 units next year.