As car companies prepare to launch their new luxury sports hatchbacks (SUVs) at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, Maserati fans will have to wait a little longer as it puts the final touches on its SUV, which it is hoping will help it reverse its sales decline. Bentley’s Bentayga and Jaguar’s F-Pace will both be on show at the Frankfurt Motor Show, while deliveries of Tesla TSLA.O’s electric crossover, the Model X, are scheduled to start in another two weeks or so.
Consumer preference for SUVs has prompted Lamborghini, Aston Martin and Rolls-Royce to all seek to secure a place in the segment. Research firm IHS Automotive expects global sales of premium and luxury SUVs to grow by more than 40 percent to Harga Maserati1.4 million units between 2008 and 2018. Total SUV sales are expected to triple to more than 25 million units over the same period.
“With low fuel prices at the moment, it’s a good time to launch an SUV …… My only concern is that Maserati could get lost in this market clamor as there are now many luxury crossovers being launched at the same time,” says Lincoln Merrihew, an industry consultant at Millward Brown Digital.
According to a plan announced last year, Maserati had planned to launch the Levante SUV in 2015, but it now seems estimated that it will not be launched until around the end of the first quarter of next year, with the biggest possibility of a debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2016.
Maserati’s Mirafiori factory in Turin, Italy, is preparing the Levante for mass production and Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Maserati’s parent company Fiat Chrysler FCHA.MI, expects the Levante to be in production by January next year.
“It’s a complex car that we need to test and then launch,” Marchionne said this month. Maserati launched the SUV concept back in 2003, more than 10 years ago. Maserati expects the Levante to replicate the success of Porsche’s SUV, which Marchionne is banking on to reverse Maserati’s sales slump in recent quarters.
The success of the Levante will depend to a large extent on the acceptance of the North American market, which accounted for 40% of Maserati’s overall sales last year. Analysts expect the Levante’s price range to be between 70,000 and 140,000 euros, similar to Porsche’s Cayenne.