With the early popularity and critical review of the new Jeep Grand Cherokee, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne says the same platform may be used for future Maserati and Alfa Romeo SUVs.
The Grand Cherokee “architecture has legs. It’s important for us to tap all of the hard work that has gone on inside Chrysler on the new Grand Cherokee,” Marchionne told Automotive News. “It has a level of solidity and resilience that we have underestimated.”
The Grand Cherokee platform was developed jointly with Mercedes-Benz, when Chrysler was still owned by Daimler. It is being used on the latest generation Mercedes-Benz ML-Class SUVs and under the redesigned 2011 Dodge Durango.
Marchionne said in a conference call about third quarter earnings, that a Maserati SUV using the Jeep architecture could be used with the powerful the 4.2-liter and 4.7-liter V-8 engines built by Ferrari for use in current Maserati passenger cars. SUVs have never been a part of the Alfa Romeo and Maserati offerings in the past.
Fiat will be returning to the US market in the fourth quarter of this year and Alfa is expected to be back sometime in 2011.