Maserati CEO Says The Maserati Levante "Sucked" At Launch


But the company is making big strides to make it better.

Despite the mass popularity of SUVs, Maserati's first SUV, the Levante, hasn't been a huge success for the company. Due to slow sales, the Italian automaker has been forced to dial back production. On the verge of his retirement next year, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne talked to MotorTrend's Alisa Priddle about some of the mistakes that were made during the Levante's launch. Marchionne still thinks very highly of the Levante, but said it suffered from “Very poor execution. I think we sucked at the launch of the Levante.”

Marchionne went on to explain how Maserati has fixed its leadership personnel, in order to improve in the future. Since the Levante's launch, Maserati and Alfa Romeo have brought in Tim Kuniskis as the global head, replacing Reid Bigland. Kuniskis is well-known in the industry for his work creating the Dodge Hellcats and Demon, which have both garnered lots of attention from media outlets. Maserati has also increased hype for the Levante by giving it something it should have had from the start - a V8 engine. The new Levante Trofeo should help add to the SUV's popularity within the luxury market.

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The new 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 in the Trofeo produces 590 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque, which should make it a fine rival for models such as the Porsche Cayenne Turbo, and Jaguar F-Pace SVR. Unfortunately, FCA sells another high-powered SUV called the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. For less money, FCA is selling a 707-hp SUV, albeit with a less luxurious look and feel. Although most people won't cross shop the Jeep and the Maserati, it make us wonder if a V8 is enough to save the Levante.