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Maserati Coming After Porsche Cayenne

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On: Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 10:39AM | By: Chris Weiss

Maserati Coming After Porsche Cayenne

Porsche lovers all remember the day. It was a JFK-like event: you don't want to remember it, yet you know exactly where you were when you found out. Porsche had built an SUV. And it was the Cayenne--a classic Porsche face with a big, awkward body. Whatever particular day you realized it, it was a nightmarish affair that branded its way into your long-term mermory. And the Porsche shield was never quite the same because of it.

Well, misery loves company and it looks like those Porsche lovers (and general car fanatics) that hated the Cayenne may have some company. Because Maserati is planning a little Porsche Cayenne of its own, which means that hardcore Maserati fanatics may be in for a nightmare similar to that that Porsche fans suffered years ago. Unless, of course, Maserati manages to make an SUV that is both aesthetic and technologically superior enough to not dilute the brand.

Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne isn't too shy with the media, and his latest encounter brought news of a possible Maserati SUV.

Marchionne told media: "This is just a great architecture. Why wouldn't I put a Maserati on it?"

The "architecture" he was referring to is the new Jeep Cherokee's platform, the platform which would underpin the Maserati Cayenne. The Cherokee platform helps give the Maserati some cred and the fact that Marchionne indicated that he's looking at engine possiblities from Maserati's garage doesn't hurt either. What is likely to hurt is seeing a big, blocky Quattroporte parked at every local Starbucks this side of Seattle. That's going to hurt a bunch.

In more bad news for lovers of auto icons, Alfa Romeo will be building its own SUV based on the Cherokee platform. And worse yet, that model may make it over here to the U.S. when Alfa mounts its big American comeback.

Here I thought that tightening environmental regulations and consumers' general proclivities were going to narrow the SUV market in the coming years, particulary amongst sport and premium-oriented brands. Then news of these unnecessary monsters. There really is no Santa Claus.

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