Milan — Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ line-up shift to SUVs helped the Italian-American car maker weather a fading US automotive market as demand for its high-end Maserati Levante SUV boomed. Second-quarter adjusted earnings before interest and taxes jumped 16% from a year earlier to ¤1.9bn ($2.2bn) as deliveries by the Maserati luxury brand almost doubled, Fiat Chrysler said in a statement on Thursday. Four-fold earnings growth at the division and a 40% surge in Europe more than made up for a 1.7% profit decline at the company’s mass-market nameplates in North America. CEO Sergio Marchionne’s strategy to emphasise more-lucrative SUVs over sedans and hatchbacks is gaining traction as he seeks to eliminate Fiat Chrysler’s debt before he retires in 2019. Since General Motors rebuffed his approach for a combination in 2015, Marchionne has focused on making Fiat Chrysler a more attractive partner down the road. In addition to expanding the SUV-focused Jeep brand, Fiat Chrysler has added th...

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