Luxury automaker Maserati focuses production on Italy

The Detroit News and wire reports

Milan – Luxury carmaker Maserati shared Thursday the production plans for its a new super-sports car, a new SUV, and its first hybrid and electric models.

The Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV brand will invest $1.8 billion (1.6 billion euros) as it boosts Italian production for key product launches it hopes will mark a turnaround after a tough few quarters of lower sales and dealer stock reductions. The investment is part of the $5.5 billion (5 billion euros) that Fiat Chrysler announced for Italy last year for the years 2019-2021.

All of Maserati's new models will adopt hybrid and battery electric propulsion systems — a key part of FCA's plans to introduce electrified versions of 12 new or existing nameplates by the end of 2021 across Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Jeep and Maserati.

The lineup of electric vehicles are seeking to help the automaker meet European carbon emission standards  Not meeting the requirements could cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars.

Maserati said its highly successful four-door Ghibli sedan will be the first of its models produced with a hybrid powertrain.

A hybrid version of the successful Ghibli sedan will begin production next year in the city of Turin. Maserati also confirmed plans to make a new super sports car in Modena, the brand’s northern Italy headquarters, and a utility vehicle in Cassino, south of Rome. The sports car will be unveiled in the first six months of next year, a spokesperson said.

Maserati said it is “reinforcing the importance of Italy” as its center of production. Investments of $875 million (800 million euros) are earmarked for Cassino, where a new production line is set to open next year, and in Turin, where updated versions of the GrandTurismo and GranCabrio also will be produced.

New and updated current Maserati models also will include automated driving capabilities, starting with Level 2 enhanced highway assist. Features will progress to Level 3 with the vehicle able to switch lanes or to stop at the side of the road if the driver is unable to take control.

In this Jan. 18, 2019 file photo a worker polishes the new Maserati Levante during the opening of the Brussels Auto Show. The carmaker owned by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced production and electrification roll-outs as part of plans announced last year to invest 5 billion euros in Italian production from 2019-2022.

In all, 10 production launches are planned between 2020 and 2023.

During a business plan announcement in June 2018, Maserati said it wanted to double sales to 100,000 units by 2022. No update has been given but deliveries slipped to 35,000 units in 2018, which Fiat Chrysler said was due to lower sales in China and other key markets.

The new Fiat 500 will be the automaker's first electric vehicle marketed in the European market, even as it stops production of the nameplate in North America.

Staff Writer Breana Noble contributed.