Maserati has ambitions plans to boost its annual sales to as much as 50,000 units per year in the mid to longer term, up from less than 7,000 units sold last year. To do so, the automaker intends on two key model introductions with which it hopes to acquire new customers, particularly in emerging markets such as China, India and Russia.

One of these will be an SUV previewed by the latest Kubang concept car and based on Jeep Grand Cherokee running gear. The other is a new ‘baby’ sedan to be sold alongside the existing Quattroporte, which itself will be receiving a redesign at the end of this year.

While there was previous speculation that the name of the new SUV model would be Cinqueporte, Italian for “five doors,” and the baby sedan would be called Levante, as revealed by a recent trademark filing, it turns out Maserati had other plans.

During a press conference at the 2012 Paris Auto Show today, Maserati confirmed that its SUV will in fact be called the Levante, as in Via Emilia Levante in Bologna, Italy, where the Maserati brothers, almost a century ago, first dreamt of the company that today still bears their name. With the new Maserati Levante set to go on sale in 2014, the year Maserati celebrates its centennial, it seems a proper name and, in many ways, a bridge to the automaker’s future.

As for the baby sedan, Maserati said this model will be called the Ghibli, a name previously used by the automaker for a two-seater GT and convertible built between 1967 and 1973, and then again for a more modern GT between 1992 and 1997. The new Ghibli will be a sedan similar in size to a BMW 5-Series and is tipped to offer new V-6 and V-8 engines developed by Ferrari.

Production of the new Levante will take place at Chrysler’s Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit, while the Ghibli and redesigned Quattroporte will be produced at a former Bertone near Turin, Italy.

For more from the 2012 Paris Auto Show, be sure to check our dedicated show page.


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