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Fiat bets on Maserati replacing Ferrari

CEO sees Maserati as new prestige profit driver after Ferrari's IPO later this year; it plans to add SUV and coupe to model line-up

Maserati's reputation for performance is well established, but the luxury segment of the US car market is crowded and aggressively contested by Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi and Lexus.

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FIAT is spinning off Ferrari later this year, losing its top luxury brand. Chief executive officer Sergio Marchionne badly needs Maserati to fill the vacuum.

Ferrari's power, prestige and profits have helped bankroll the more pedestrian Dodges, Jeeps, Fiats and