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Chase bank drives off with Maserati

Fiat-owned automaker will partner with JPMorgan Chase to boost North American sales.

A model poses with the Maserati Levante SUV during the 2016 New York International Auto Show in New York, March 23, 2016.
Brendan McDermid | Reuters
A model poses with the Maserati Levante SUV during the 2016 New York International Auto Show in New York, March 23, 2016.

JPMorgan Chase and high-end automaker Maserati North America are partnering in an auto-finance agreement that could help put more of the sleek sedans and sporty SUVs on U.S. streets.

The Italian automaker, which is owned by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, joins existing Chase Auto Finance partners Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, Subaru and Enterprise Car Sales. At a time when auto sales in the U.S. are chasing all-time highs, it looks as if the bank is prepared to continue expanding its roster of partnerships, according to Jagdeep Dayal, head of Chase Auto Finance's private label business.

"Our private label solutions are tailored to meet the unique needs of each brand," Dayal said. "We'd be honored to partner with additional auto brands to serve their customers' needs."

The automaker's new line of Levante sport utility vehicles were unveiled by Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne in February in hops that it will help revive sales for the auto conglomerate, which saw shares lag behind that of major U.S. automakers in recent months.

In the U.S., Maserati sales have also slowed after growing from 2013 to 2014, the automaker's annual report said. Fiat's top U.S. competitors, Ford and General Motors, have seen shares trade down to begin the year. However, Fiat shares are down more than 40 percent in 2016.

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Last year, about 31,500 Maseratis were sold, a decrease of 4.1 percent from 2014, which the company attributed to "weaker segment demand in the U.S. and China." But the automaker is bullish with its expectations.

"We anticipate that Maserati's new diversified product portfolio will fuel sales across the U.S. as consumers become more familiarized with our full range of luxury automobiles," said Christian Gobber, president and CEO of Maserati North America.