Hot Levante and EVs in Maserati plans, but no smaller SUVs


Maserati has lifted the lid on some bold future product plans as sales rise on the back of its first SUV

Maserati has hinted at future product plans that could include a 500bhp+ V8 engined Maserati Levante and an electric car by 2020. There's no desire, however, to extend the brand's SUV offering with a smaller Porsche Macan rival or a sleeker coupe SUV model.

The company was laying out its future as it marked its 102nd birthday with a celebratory dinner at its Modena headquarters.

With the Levante now launched, a significant piece of the puzzle is now in place in the brand's quest to hit a sales target of 75,000 annually, possibly by 2018.

Maserati sales are up globally by 21 per cent year to date (and on target for around 40,000), CEO Reid Bigland told Auto Express, while November figures were up 65 per year on year thanks to the SUV - a major turnaround for a company that sold only 6,000 cars and had barely 60 engineering staff a few short years ago.

Amid this backdrop, Maserati might have been tempted to go down the Porsche route and add a second SUV to its range. But bosses have a very clear vision of what they will and won't do in a bid to protect the brand's DNA.

Giulio Pastore, general manager of Maserati Europe, was unequivocal when he said: "For us, it's Levante then stop." So any thoughts of a smaller Macan rival can be nipped in the bud. "That size is maybe a better fit for Alfa," Auto Express was told by one exec.

There are no plans for a Levante coupe-SUV, either. Marketing boss Alberto Cavaggioni stressed: "Our company does not like coupe-SUVs. The Levante is already a GT SUV, anyway."

Pastore also ruled out a more basic model than the 271bhp diesel, although he gave a glimmer of hope for a more powerful Levante when he said: "That is something we could potentially study. It would have to be justified. But we have the Quattroporte (523bhp V8) engine."

Cavvagioni added: "The global market for SUVs beyond 500bhp is tiny - only around 12,500. So we would have to look at how much we put in and what we can get out. But it is good to have something in your pocket to show what you can do."

Electrification will be embraced by Maserati, but not imminently, and probably not in the Levante. "Around 2020 we will have an electric car in the range," said Pastore. All options, including plug-in hybrid and 48-volt hybrid are being considered, but an all-electric production version of the stunning Alfieri sports car concept seen at Geneva in 2014 is the likely front runner to debut electrification in a Maserati.

Next up in the product plan are replacements for the GranTurismo and GranCabrio, although it's the first full year of Levante sales that will push volumes up to new levels next year.

And the company admitted it is monitoring the political situation in Italy following the resignation of PM Matteo Renzi. Said Pastore: "We will have to wait and see how it affects our business."

Text Source: Auto Express