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L.A. Auto Show 2017: More SUVs coming from Maserati?

Charles Fleming, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Automotive News

Maserati global head Reid Bigland, who also runs the FCA sister division Alfa Romeo, is enjoying the best sales year in the Italian car company's 100-year history.

That's largely on the back of the newly introduced Levante, Maserati's first and only SUV. The performance-oriented car has helped drive unit sales to record highs, Bigland said in an interview at the AutoMobility LA portion of the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Levante will account for more than 50 percent of Maserati global sales, which this year will probably top 50,000 cars -- up from about 42,000 last year.

So it's only natural to wonder whether, or when, Levante might be joined by another SUV in the Maserati family.

Bigland said he does not foresee any larger Levante on the horizon, but he did not rule out the possibility of something smaller than the current version, something that might join the Alfa Romeo Stelvio in the smaller-SUV stable.

"I don't think there will be a Levante Sr.," Bigland said. "As for Levante Jr., I think we have that space covered by Alfa Romeo. But is there room in the market for a premium midsize Levante? We're kicking it around."

Bigland said the Levante, in addition to adding sales, is also proving a conquest vehicle for the company. Car buyers who are cross-shopping Porsche's Cayenne or Jaguar Land Rover's Range Rover are becoming Maserati customers, most of them coming to the brand for the first time.

 

But that does not encourage Bigland to imagine a lower-priced, entry-level Maserati to broaden market share, or at least not much below the $72,000 starting MSRP for the Levante.

"We have not recklessly chased volume," Bigland said. "We don't need to take Maserati down to the $30,000 price point to chase customers. We can do that with products made by Dodge or Chrysler."

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