Despite claims to the contrary, Maserati looks set to introduce an SUV based on the Alfa Romeo Stelvio.
The vehicle was denied just two years ago by then-Maserati CEO Harald Wester, but Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne confirmed it on Tuesday during his third-quarter earnings call with analysts, Automotive News (subscription required) reports.
It ties in with comments made by Marchionne in January that all next-generation Maseratis would use Alfa Romeo’s flexible Giorgio platform which debuted in the Alfa Romeo Giulia and also features in the Stelvio.
Marchionne said the SUV will arrive by 2020 and help Maserati reach an annual sales target of 70,000 to 80,000 vehicles. Maserati in the first nine months of 2017 sold 36,000 vehicles, up from 23,900 the previous year. The boost was due to the Levante which arrived in showrooms this year.
A Stelvio-based SUV would see Maserati enter the premium small SUV segment (the Levante competes in the premium mid-size category). Potential rivals will be the Porsche Macan and higher grade BMW X3s, Jaguar F-Paces and Mercedes-Benz GLCs.
The SUV segment is still growing so the decision is understandable, but the tied up resources could lead to further delays in lower volume models like the redesigned GranTurismo and Alfieri-based sports car.