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Jeep to underpin future Alfa SUV

2010-11-09 07:09

X6 KILLER?: Jeep’s Grand Cherokee could finally give life to Alfa’s striking Kamal SUV concept. Add Maserati V8 and BMW’s X6 has a rival of note.

Fiat’s Italian car empire has a problem. It lacks a product to exploit the profitable SUV market. So...

Whereas the German premium brands sport a range of SUVs, none of the desirable Italian nameplates – Ferrari, Maserati and Alfa Romeo – have an SUV or crossover on offer.

Fiat’s boss, Sergio Marchionne, has announced an executable strategy to redress this imbalance.


Unpacking Chrysler’s third-quarter financial results on Monday, Marchionne tabled the idea of employing Jeep’s Grand Cherokee architecture to launch Alfa Romeo and Maserati’s foray into the SUV market.

"I envision using the (Grand Cherokee) architecture for the benefit of Alfa Romeo and Maserati," Marchionne said before adding, "the possibility of using Ferrari powertrains (with) the architecture is real."

Although the idea of pairing Maserati (or Ferrari) V8 power with a Jeep platform may appear to be courting disaster it's worth remembering that the Grand Cherokee SRT8 currently runs a 313kW V8 with some measure of ability. Coping with either the 4.2 or 4.7 Maserati V8 engines, producing 295 and 323kW respectively, should therefore not pose much of a problem.


The blend of American chassis architecture and Italian V8 drivetrains will be cloaked in typically stylish design. "We're not turning a toaster into an oven," according to Marchionne. Alfa Romeo’s future SUV could draw inspiration from the company’s magnificent Kamal concept car, seen at the Geneva auto show back in 2003.

When Fiat unveiled its North American marketing strategy earlier this year, only an Alfa Romeo D-segment SUV was part of the product matrix for 2014.

Noting the success of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz’s high-performance SUV's, Marchionne has suitably revised his tactics to include five-door SUV's possibly sporting both the trident and prancing horse badges - a move sure to be seen as heresy by some, clever business acumen by others.

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