Maserati SUV Coming in 2013, Shares Jeep Grand Cherokee/Dodge Durango Platform

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Sport-utility vehicles are well regarded by automakers for their higher margins of profit, and who wouldn't want to benefit from earning more cash? Earlier reports suggested Maserati was considering building an SUV off a Chrysler platform, but it appears we will certainly be seeing such a beast in the near future.

Two weeks ago, we heard the murmurs during a financial conference call with Chrysler and Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne that a Maserati SUV was a very real possibility. The 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango is likely to get a new platform mate, both of which ride on Chrysler's WK2 architecture. A recent interview conducted by the Wall Street Journal all but confirmed the green light.

"This is just a great architecture," Marchionne told the WSJ. "Why wouldn't I put a Maserati on it?"

As Porsche has proved with the success of its Cayenne, a sport-ute may be just the vehicle needed to jump start and support the other low-volume Maserati models. The company has sold 1551 GranTurismos and Quattroportes in the United States through October this year -- a pittance, perhaps, but it's a 47-percent increase over the first 10 months of 2009. A premium performance SUV could be just the ticket to further the brand's future, especially in SUV-crazed North America.

The new Maserati SUV is due to launch around the globe sometime in 2013, although it will likely still be manufactured alongside the Grand Cherokee and Durango within Chrysler's Jefferson North assembly plant in Detroit, Michigan. We've long seen Chrysler craft plans that leverage Fiat technologies and platforms (including a forthcoming Dodge vehicle based on the Alfa Romeo Giulietta) , but this appears to be one of the first instances of the inverse.

We wish the company buona fortuna with the venture, but we'll pose it to you: is this a good move for Maserati, or is this platform sharing gone too far? Let us hear your voice by way of the comments section below.

Source: Wall Street Journal

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