Chuck Berry penned these lyrics made famous by George Thorogood: “I met a German girl in England who was going to school in France, said we danced the Mississippi at an Alpha Kappa dance.” It would appear that the tale of the upcoming Maserati SUV is no less confusing, since it involves Maserati, Jeep, Italy and Detroit. Here’s what we know: Maserati will build their own SUV, based on the Jeep Grand Cherokee, and it will be assembled in Chrysler’s Jefferson North assembly plant in Detroit.
The project is far enough along that a concept version will be shown at next month’s Frankfurt Motor Show, but we’re not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. The Jeep Grand Cherokee, while not inexpensive, stickers for far less than the cheapest Maserati. Prior joint ventures between the two companies (admittedly, long before they were under the same roof) have ended in failure. Does anyone remember the Chrysler TC by Maserati?
Maserati, on the other hand, wants something to counter the success of the Porsche Cayenne, which ultimately shares a platform with the more pedestrian Volkswagen Touareg. Still, we’d argue that there’s less of a spread between the VW and the Porsche than there is between the Jeep and anything by Maserati; one is akin to shaving black truffles on a cheap, grocery-store ribeye, while the other is equivalent to shaving them over top ramen.
It’s no secret that SUVs pack higher profit margins than sedans, so Maserati sees a trident-branded SUV as a profitable and in-demand addition to their showrooms. We’ll try to reserve judgement until the facts are in, but for the time being, we don’t see this ending well.
Source: Automotive News