Fiat Chrysler increasing Maserati Levante production
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV is adding a second shift to a plant in Italy to increase production of the Maserati Levante SUV.
The company on Thursday said about 550 workers will return from furlough to the Mirafiori facility after having completed production training for the Levante. About 500 workers currently at the facility started producing the brand’s first-ever SUV in February.
Increased production, the company said, will begin Monday. During the production ramp-up, about 150 workers from the Grugliasco plant in Turin who already have experience with production of the Maserati Quattroporte and Ghibli will help at the plant.
The $72,000-plus vehicle started arriving in European showrooms this spring following several delays in production. It is expected to arrive in the United States by late summer, with a good supply in dealerships by early October.
The increased production plans come two days after the automaker announced Reid Bigland would replace Maserati and Alfa Romeo CEO Harald Wester, effective immediately.
Bigland was previous head of Alfa Romeo-North America as well as several other positions, including head of U.S. sales and CEO of FCA Canada.
Wester remains the automaker’s chief technology officer.
Wester in March told The Detroit News that the company plans production of the Maserati Levante to peak at 30,000 in 2017, with roughly 10,000 SUVs each slated for the U.S. and China.
The Levante will be powered by a 3.0-liter V-6 twin-turbo gasoline engine in the U.S. capable of either 345 horsepower on the entry-level Levante or 424-horsepower on the Levante S. A diesel-powered version rated at 275-horsepower will not be available in the U.S.
The Levante S — starting at $83,000 — covers 0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds and has a top speed of 164 mph. The regular Levante accelerates from 0-60 mph in 5.9 seconds and tops out at 156 mph.