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New Jeep Grand Cherokee-based Maserati SUV to be built in Detroit

We have known since late last year that Maserati would soon be offering a high end performance sport utility vehicles based on the new Jeep Grand Cherokee and thanks to inside information from Automotive News, we now know that this new Maserati SUV will be built in Detroit with the official concept debut planned for the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Little is known but sources suggest that the new Maserati SUV will be based on the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Dodge Durango, sharing a build location with the two Chrysler Group utes at the company’s Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit. We know that this new Maserati will be heavily based on the Grand Cherokee but Harald Wester, Maserati's CEO offered this insight to Automotive News earlier this year:
"The important point is that whatever Maserati we launch will be a product that respects the entire heritage, image, characteristics, and customer expectations of this brand. What ends up in the dealer shops should be 100 percent Maserati."

The current Maserati lineup draws its power from cousin brand Ferrari but it is unclear as to whether the new Italian luxury sport utility vehicle will offer Italian power or if it will use the engines currently offered in the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The 3.6L Pentastar V6 that serves as the base engine in the Jeep (and Durango) is already planned for use in Europe and while that engine doesn’t quite pack the punch that you would expect from a modern Maserati vehicle, the 360hp, 5.7L Hemi V8 and the 465hp, 6.4L Hemi would certainly do a fine job of providing enough oomph for the Maserati SUV. However, is that going to be enough oomph and while the Chrysler Group farm out their tried and true Hemi V8 engines for use in this new Maserati SUV? Also, if the Hemi does find its way into these high end Italian sport utes, will it still wear the Hemi name or will it be marketed in a different way? On the other hand, if Maserati doesn’t stick with the Chrysler Group engines, who will and how will they get into the new ute? Will engines be shipped from Italy for installation at Jefferson North or will these new vehicles be shipped to Italy devoid of a drivetrain?

The source who tipped Automotive News in on the production location also told them that the first example of the Jeep-Maserati SUV will debut in concept form at the upcoming 2011 Frankfurt Motor Shot…so within the next few weeks we should have a very good look at the next era of Maserati vehicles as their Porsche Cayenne-fighting SUV hits the market.

Source: Automotive News

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