It’s been four long years since the Maserati Kubang concept rolled into town at the 2011 Frankfurt show.
Finally, now, we have some concrete facts on Maserati’s production SUV from CEO Harold Wester. Production will begin in February next year, with a world debut scheduled for the Geneva motor show in March.
Much has changed since 2011, including the name from Kubang (pictured) to Levante, where it will be screwed together (in Italy at the Miafori plant, rather than Detroit as originally planned – hence the delay) and its underpinnings. Originally based on a Jeep platform, the Levante will now be all Maserati underneath.
“It will be based 100 per cent on the Quattroporte platform, and be the lead vehicle for lots of new content that will be rolled out across the range,” Wester explained. “It will be significantly different from the concept and better in every way.”
Fighting talk from the CEO. But then it needs to be, because Wester’s Maserati masterplan isn’t going exactly to schedule. His target was to sell 50,000 cars by 2015 and last year Maserati sold 36,000 – a shortfall accounted for by the SUV’s delay.
But let’s not be too hard on the man: by flogging the new Ghibli and Quattroporte he’s increased sales by roughly 600 per cent in the last two years.