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marchionne madness?

Maserati fans from 30 countries travelled to Italy to celebrate the Italian brand’s 100th anniversary.

Fewer than 10 days after it was announced he would take over the chairmanship at Ferrari, Sergio Marchionne made some eye-opening predictions at a gala dinner celebrating the 100th anniversary of another prestigious Fiat property, Maserati.

"In 2018, annual sales for Maserati will be 75,000 units or about five times what they are today," said the chief executive of Fiat and Chrysler, bedecked in his seemingly ever-present sweater, to a black-tie gathering of Maserati owners at the Reggia di Venario Reala. "Maserati will not be the biggest luxury brand, but the best."

While this number represents a staggering level of growth, Peter Grady, president and CEO of Maserati North America, believes it is achievable. "We'll have two new product lines soon, the Alfieri and the Levante, so that will fill a gap. We think demand will be very strong."

The Alfieri, a super sports car that debuted at this year's Geneva Motor Show, will be available in 2016, with a convertible version set to follow a year later. While it's a stunning car, company insiders expect far more sales to derive from the Levante, the first Maserati SUV, which is also scheduled to arrive in 2016. The Levante will debut in production form at either next year's Frankfurt Motor Show or Los Angeles Auto Show.

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