2012 Ferrari FFEnlarge Photo
It seems that nothing is sacred in the world of high-end automobiles anymore.
When Porsche came out with the Cayenne, there was a clamoring among Porsche faithful that the SUV really detracted from an otherwise pure, sporty brand.
And despite market success, it's hard to argue that the Stuttgart shield hasn't been tarnished a little by the Cayenne and Panamera.
Still, other brands watching Porsche rack up SUV and sedan sales while witnessing growing demand in rising markets like China and Russia are moving in much the same direction, brand be damned. We're looking at Bentley, Maserati and Lamborghini.
Thankfully, the boys in Maranello (and Turin) are one group that won't stand for brand dilution. In a conversation with Automotive News Europe, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne said that Ferrari will not build an SUV or a luxury sedan. In other words, Ferrari will be Ferrari, manufacturer of high-performance GTs, sports cars, convertibles and race cars.
Marchionne made it clear that maintaining the integrating of the Prancing Horse supersedes any perceived need to boost volume, explaining: "The uniqueness of that brand cannot be minimized and so we are very, very careful."
Though rumors of a Ferrari SUV haven't been particularly loud in recent years, this year's introduction of the Maserati Kubang, as well as Ferrari's first all-wheel-drive system on the FF, may have had some wondering whether a big brother crossover was in the works. It's good to hear a definitive "no."
The news also gives us more respect for the Maserati Kubang, which may come to be called Cinqueporte. A Maserati SUV didn't necessarily sound enticing at first, but the model is representative of Maserati's role in competing against competitors like Porsche, Bentley and Aston Martin in the luxury sports segment.
That keeps Ferrari free to play in "its own box" and pursue a pure sports car agenda. And all is right with the world. At least the Ferrari world.