Maserati Sstyled by Ssanyong

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Was the new Maserati Levante drawn by the Ssanyong design studio? Or did they make such a hash of the styling of the new Maserati SUV by themselves? Maserati in the last few years has produced some absolutely wonderful cars, so what went wrong this time?

The Levante SUV had its world release March 1 at the Geneva Auto Show and is the first SUV in the history of Maserati (now owned by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles).

Maserati said the first models have already started coming off the assembly line in Turin, Italy, and vehicles are expected in European showrooms in spring, followed by the United States and other countries later this year.

Maserati Levante SUV.

In an attempt to look like a Maserati, the Levante has a prominent grille with the Maserati trident, but for me, it ends there.

The specification reads well, with a chassis that is claimed to combine “the outstanding on-road performance typical of every Maserati” with good handling on slippery surfaces and off-road.

The AWD system features an “intelligent” all-wheel drive system and eight-speed automatic transmission.

World estimates for SUVs, including crossovers, will grow globally to 33 percent in 2016 and 36 percent in 2020.

Head of Maserati Harald Wester has said that the Levante should move Maserati to its next chapter of growth. “We are outperforming the markets with nearly all of our products in nearly all regions. From this point of view, I am satisfied,” Wester said in August last year. “Obviously, I would have preferred to have the Levante nine months earlier, which would have allowed us to have a more continuous growth.”

Last year was a difficult one for Maserati, as it had enjoyed record sales and financial performance in 2014. In 2015, it earned $117 million, down a whopping 62 percent from the previous year. Revenue decreased 13 percent, and shipments declined 11 percent to under 32,5000 vehicles globally.

The declines were primarily due to a slowdown in China’s auto industry, with regulations that increased the cost of importing luxury vehicles into the country.

So will the Levante bring the sales graph up? If looks are anything to go by, I somehow doubt it.