By on October 25, 2017

2017 Maserati Levante side view (Image: Maserati)

Nobody could have predicted the success Porsche was to enjoy after introducing a performance-oriented sport utility vehicle in 2002. When the German manufacturer introduced the Cayenne, everyone scoffed, claiming the very idea of a sporting high-end SUV was patently ridiculous.

It’s now 15 years later and every premium brand is trying to replicate Porsch’s success with its own ultra-lux SUV. Lamborghini is getting the Urus, Bentley has the Bentayga, and even Ferrari — a company that said a sport utility vehicle was out of the question — recently confirmed development plans on its own “FUV.”

But sometimes one just isn’t enough. Maserati already has the Levante but Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne says it will need a second if it’s going to hit ambitious profitability targets announced this week. 

The Levante has already helped bolster Maserati volume quite a bit, but the brand is aiming for at least 70,000 annual units globally. Through September of this year, the company has managed 10,962 deliveries between Canada and the United States — and it’s on track to surpass 2016’s regional sales volume of 13,216. This is thanks largely due to the Levante and Ghibli moving at much higher volumes than the GranTurismo.

Worldwide, the more practical models have helped Maserati’s global sales immensely. The brand has shipped 36,000 global units within the first three quarters of 2017, compared to only 23,900 cars last year. Sergio thinks that ceiling could be much higher and would be reachable if the company had something akin to Porsche’s Macan.

According to Bloomberg, Marchionne feels Maserati can eventually generate 1 billion euros in earnings on 70,000 to 80,000 vehicle sales. The vehicle to bring in enough clientele to make this possible would be based off the Alfa Romeo Stelvio and slotted below the Levante — in both size and price. The prospective SUV exists on a tentative timetable with production set to begin in 2020.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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14 Comments on “Sergio Says Maserati Needs Another SUV...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    That would be very interesting; I can see it taking off.

  • avatar
    YeOldeMobile

    >The vehicle to bring in enough clientele to make this possible would be based off the Alfa Romeo Stelvio and slotted below the Levante — in both size and price. The prospective SUV exists on a tentative timetable with production set to begin in 2020.

    So this hypothetical X3 would be available within 2-3 years?

    Assuming that Alfa Romeo’s Stelvio Quadrifoglio would be the only other FCA SUV in competition with a bargain luxury Maserati, I could see this strategy working. Maserati has a distinct brand image and it shouldn’t overlap with the Stelvio’s target market.

    The question is whether it can compete with the Volvo, BMW, Mercedes, Land Rover and other luxury SUVs that currently compete in the “less-expensive than a Levante” price bracket. It’s a crowded market, and Maserati doesn’t really have the best reputation for value or reliability. And personally speaking, I think their current generation of vehicles don’t look that great.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    The Levante looks like Ursula the Sea Witch. It even has the trident.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    Give them a Durango and slap a trident on it.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    Umm, wouldn’t Chrysler need at least one SUV before Maserati needs a second one? It’s just the name on the company Sergio.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    And I think FCA needs a new CEO.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Why would you say that? Is it the impossible-to-meet sales targets? Or is it the total lack of awareness of the concept of exclusivity?

      You know he’s a finance man and deal maker put into auto management to make a deal to get the major owners out of the car business, right? It’s just taken him longer to make that deal than expected, and he’s just looking at increasing revenue to sweeten the prize.

      If you don’t care about the future reputation of Maserati or Ferrari but need the higher profit margins now to pull off a deal that gets the Agnelli family out of the capital-intensive, low-margin car business, you do exactly what Sergio is doing.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I’m very excited for the day Maserati sells enough vehicles to be included in reliability survey results.

  • avatar
    kurkosdr

    Wait, wait wait… The Levante can be cheapened further? What is this new SUV going to be? A Jeep Patriot with a trident superglued on the hood?

    I think that, in the pursuit for “volume”, FCA is destroying the Maserati brand with models like the Ghibli and the Levante (and that new smaller SUV they are planning). Sure, they will sell a boatload of them to shallow people who want to be seen in a Maserati, ’till everyone knows they are not true Maseratis and sales taper off. Then FCA will have less volume AND a damaged brand.

    This is exactly the kind of “take a mediocre car and stick a fancy badge on it” downmarket expansion that destroyed the Cadillac brand, an asset GM wish they had when their Malibus weren’t selling that well.

  • avatar
    Nick_515

    Where is DW when you need him?!?

  • avatar
    Eaststand

    He should probably stop and think about not making current maseratis so disgustingly cheap feeling and badly built. I can guarantee their will be no repeat customers from the current crop of maserati buyers.

  • avatar

    Sergio has lost all credibility. Who listens to this idiot.

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