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Maserati's new names Ghibli, Levante

The Maserati Levante, once known as the Kubang concept is poised to be a Porsche Cayenne rival.

Despite Europe's sagging car market and Italy's melting economy, Maserati says its mid-size prestige sedan - now named Ghibli - and the new SUV will take its annual sales to 50,000 units by 2015.

Its optimism is clipped by the 6159 cars it sold globally in 2011 - 140 of those in Australia. Maserati says the Ghibli - once dubbed the baby Quattroporte and a rival for the Mercedes E-Class and BMW 5-Series - will start production next year and the Levante SUV in the company's centennial year, 2014.

The Levante, once known as the Kubang concept and now named after the street in which the five Maserati brothers started business in 1914, is poised to be a Porsche Cayenne rival. The new Ghibli marks the third time that Maserati has used the name. It was first launched as a two-door luxury coupe in 1967 and then revisited in 1992 before ending in 1997.

The Quattroporte will next year mark its 50th anniversary with an all-new, sixth-generation model with a more aggressive stance, a more defined boot line and a more spacious interior with an accent on better placement of controls.

It was first sold in 1963 as the first generation Maserati four-door - quattroporte translates literally as four door - and remained in production until 1969. The second generation started in 1974 and replaced by the third generation in 1979, then the fourth generation arrived in 1994 and the fifth incarnation in 2004. The Quattroporte is Maserati's best-selling car of all time.