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VW Teases New SUV Line While Maserati Announces SUV Production

March 7, 2014
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The Geneva Auto Show brought major news regarding SUVs: Volkswagen hinted at a new line of SUVs while Maserati expressed plans to start SUV production in 2015.

In the car show, Volkswagen introduced a concept SUV, which is considered a preview of the brand’s future SUV models. The T-ROC boasts of a progressive design and impressive features, such as two removable roof halves and a front section that includes LED headlights. The middle part of the roof is made of two halves that can be easily removed and stored in the trunk. The vehicle features front and rear cameras that broaden the driver’s field of vision; these are illuminated in the dark by the LED headlights.

The T-ROC succeeds four other concept cars from Volkswagen. The German auto manufacturer had previously created the CrossBlue, CrossBlue Coupé and Taigun. The two-door Golf-format vehicle is said to have the capabilities of an all-wheel-drive SUV as well as the airiness of a convertible.

Demand for SUVs in the U.S. has grown, and it seems like Volkswagen is aware of a gap in its current lineup. The T-ROC proves to be a remarkable teaser to the brand’s upcoming SUV line. The automaker has made two notable SUVs in the past, Tiguan and Touareg, both are among the most successful SUVs from Europe. Volkswagen is expected to expand their SUV line with brand new models in the near future.

While Volkswagen teased its potential SUV line, Maserati affirmed theirs. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced plans to begin the production of the bodies for the new Maserati Levante next year. The production will be at the company’s Mirafiori plant in northern Italy. According to Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne, “We are getting Mirafiori ready for production (of the Maserati SUV). The first bodies are expected for 2015.” The Levante is the first SUV from the Maserati brand.

The original plan was to build the Maserati Levante in Detroit, but Fiat decided to keep production at Mirafiori in Turin, Italy. The move to build the SUV, as well as the Alfa Romeo marque, in Italy is Fiat’s attempt to ensure the future of the underutilized factory. Last year, Marchionne said in an interview that they were not closing the plant.

Fiat is reviving the Maserati brand, as well as reintroducing the Alfa Romeo marque, as part of its efforts to win its share of the European market. Maserati had a solid performance last year, though its overall sales was way below the 2015 target. Deliveries in 2013 reached 15,400 units.

Fiat is also gearing up for the production of the two-door coupe Maserati Alfieri, whose prototype was displayed at the car show. Marchionne mentioned that production can begin in 28 months if the company pushes through with the concept car. “The platforms and motors are there. Technically, production could start in 24-28 months,” he said.

It is unclear whether the coupe will also be built in Mirafiori, but it is a possibility. The Mirafiori factory is one of Fiat’s production plants for its luxury brands. The Alfieri is named after one of Maserati’s founders.

Photo credit: Oscar Megía/ FlickrCC BY-ND

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