Maserati wants to make serious inroads into the softroader market and will display an SUV concept at the Detroit show, says CAR correspondent Giancarlo Perini.
Maserati wants to make serious inroads into the softroader market and will unveil an SUV concept at the Detroit show, says CAR correspondent Giancarlo Perini.
The initial reaction to the 2000 launch of the Giorgetto Giugiaro-designed Italdesign Buran MPV was less than enthusiastic, but as reports of a planned Maybach SUV (as reported by CARtoday.com last year) suggest, most manufacturers are keen to gain a share in the burgeoning softroader market – especially in the US.
Following the high-profile launch of the Porsche Cayenne at the Paris Motor Show, Fiat Auto has been keeping an eye on the SUV market and wants to ensure that the Italian marques are not left behind.
Speaking to CARtoday.com, Fiat Auto SA managing director Alberto Montanari said: “Fiat Auto is aware of the booming soft-roader market and could develop a vehicle for that market instead of another executive saloon such as the 166.”
“Such a vehicle would be designed to offer the best possible on-road performance (as this is where Alfa’s expertise lay) and have limited off-road capability,” he said. “Alfa Romeo, for example, built a genuine off-roader for the Italian army during World War 2, but this time we will probably draw on General Motors’ experience in building SUVs and make a joint project of it.”
The new concept is being finalised in Turin, at one of the major coachbuilders there (most likely Giugiaro) and under the supervision of Frank Stephenson, recently appointed head of “Concept Design” at Ferrari/Maserati.
Sources say the new car could be inspired by – or possibly share components with – the Audi Magellan and not an General Motors products as previously thought.
”It was revealed last week that Audi has been working with Maserati on a number of confidential projects,” reported.
Powered by an uprated version of the 4,2-litre V8 unit that was first used in the Maserati Spyder, the car is said to be a development of the Buran MPV pictured here.
Perini adds that the newcomer is a concept – built to compete with the BMW X5 and Porsche Cayenne – to gauge public opinion about a trident-badged off-roader.