Maserati SUV is for real -- this time

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For the second time in nine years, Maserati execs showcased a luxury SUV at the Detroit auto show -- but this time, they plan to build it.

The luxury Kubang SUV, which will share a platform with the Jeep Grand Cherokee, will be built at Chrysler Group's Jefferson North Assembly plant in Detroit and exported worldwide.

When it's built, the SUV will have an Italian-made engine developed by Ferrari combined with a new eight-speed automatic transmission.

Interior components for the vehicle also will be developed by Maserati, said Harald Wester, Maserati's CEO.

Ferrari and Maserati are both brands owned by Chrysler Group's parent company, Fiat S.p.A.

The Kubang concept vehicle that appeared in Detroit today is the same vehicle, pictured, that made its world debut at the Frankfurt auto show in September.

Maserati introduced a luxury SUV concept in Detroit in 2003, but never green-lighted the vehicle.

The concept vehicle that appeared in Detroit today is the same vehicle that made its world debut at the Frankfurt auto show in September.

The SUV's pricing, specifications and name were not released.

The luxury performance brand does not have an SUV in its lineup, but Wester said an expansion into the segment was necessary for Maserati's development.

"Maserati is a natural to build such a vehicle," he said, "and the time is right to do so."

You can reach Larry P. Vellequette at lvellequette@crain.com.

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