MILAN, April 12 Niche Italian luxury car maker
Maserati, owned by Fiat SpA, aims to make 10 times more
cars by 2015 as it expands its range to include a sports utility
vehicle and a new high-end sedan aimed at U.S. consumers.
Maserati's move to into higher-volume cars follows Fiat's
purchase of a majority stake in U.S. automaker Chrysler, and is
part of an industry-wide trend towards luxury SUVs.
The company said on Thursday it aims to sell 50,000 cars
annually by 2015. Maserati made 5,675 cars in 2010 at a factory
near Bologna, where it was founded in 1914.
Maserati will double its number of dealers by 2014, its
marketing director Massimo Farao' said at the Geneva car show
"Our main market is in the U.S., and we are broadening our
product range there in the E segment to compete with Mercedes,"
he said, adding that Maserati is also targeting China.
Its new sales targets take Maserati out of a niche market,
and shifts its manufacturing away from its handcrafted roots.
The new Maserati SUV will be made in Detroit at the Jefferson
North assembly plant, where the Jeep Grand Cherokee is built,
from a Jeep platform.
The new high-end, or E segment, car will compete with a BMW
Series 5 or Audi A6, and will reportedly be based on a Chrysler
Maserati's small factory in Modena cannot be expanded, the
company said on Thursday, so some of its future production will
be shifted to the ex-Bertone plant in Turin acquired by Fiat
just over two years ago, it said.
"Design, marketing and distribution activities for the
entire product range will be located at the company's Modena
headquarters," Maserati said.
Maserati also said it planned to produce a new Alfa Romeo
model from May 2013 at its Modena factory. It expects production
of the new model - the 4C - to be "up to 2,500 units per year."
The 4C is a two-seater sporty Alfa that will spearhead the
storied racing brand's long-awaited return to the U.S. market
next year. An Alfa Romeo sedan, in the D segment, will be
manufactured in the U.S., Fiat executives said at the Geneva car
The upcoming Alfa Romeo sedan may share some engine and
powertrain technology with the Maserati E segment car, Fiat
executives indicated in Geneva, without being more specific.