2010 Maserati GranTurismo Convertible (GranCabrio)Enlarge Photo
That’s the promise of Fiat Group CEO Sergio Marchionne who has told reporters that he’d like to see Maserati lift its annual sales to around 50,000 units.
Ignoring exclusivity and brand cachet, Marchionne will see Maserati launch three brand new models over the coming years, all of them based around Chrysler platforms.
The first will be a sporty sedan due next year. Designed originally as a flagship sedan for the Alfa Romeo brand, planners have decided to sell it is a Maserati because of the bigger profit margins possible and the existing global dealer network.
It will feature a rear-wheel drive layout and front longitudinal engine. Power will come from an uprated Chrysler Pentastar V-6, which will be downsized to 3.0-liters but fitted with a turbocharging system and Fiat’s MultiAir valve timing technology. The end result will be a V-8 like 400 horsepower but with the fuel economy of a small six.
European buyers will also get a turbodiesel option, most likely an uprated version of VM Motori’s 3.0-liter V-6.
2010 Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S Awards EditionEnlarge Photo
It will get the 4.7-liter Ferrari-derived V-8 currently found in the GranTurismo range but with up to 475 horsepower thanks to direct fuel injection. It will also get a version of ZF’s latest eight-speed automatic and be available with all-wheel drive and fuel saving engine stop-start technology.
With its two new sedans, Maserati is hoping to sell around 30,000 to 35,000 vehicles annually. Both are expected to be built at the former Bertone plant in Italy recently acquired by Fiat.
Another 10,000 to 15,000 sales is expected to come from a new SUV based on the Jeep Grand Cherokee. This SUV will be built at Chrysler’s Jefferson North plant in Detroit alongside the Jeep but it will feature Maserati’s 4.7-liter V-8 engine instead of the Jeep’s Hemi.
Output will range from 450 to 470 horsepower, and a diesel version could be offered for Europe as well.
A concept version of the new Maserati SUV is expected to debut this September at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show, though the production version isn’t due until 2013.
Styling of all three vehicles is being handled by the Maserati Styling Center in Turin, under the direction of Fiat execs.
Finally, with Maserati’s existing GranTurismo models bringing in around 5,000 sales annually, Maserati would be able to meet Marchionne’s promise of 50,000 annual sales.
With demand for luxury vehicles continuing to grow in China, and the Indian market also developing, we could envisage Maserati reaching this goal in the not too distant future. But will it be good for the brand? Only time will tell.
[Automotive News Europe-- sub. req.]