The SUV is back, big time. Automakers like General Motors and Ford are printing money as their large-and-in-charge vehicles, once scorned, experience a resurgence.
If you aren’t selling an SUV in the USA, you’re out of the game. And increasingly, if you aren’t prepared to sell SUVs in Asia, you’re missing out on the arrival of a newly affluent class of consumers.
So who doesn’t sell SUVs?
High-end luxury automakers.
But that’s about to change.
Emboldened by their progress in emerging markets, nearly every luxury brand in the business is designing an SUV, an outbreak of product pragmatism that high-end brands once believed would ruin their finely crafted reputations … [T]he top of the car market is simply bowing to demand from buyers seeking bigger, boxier rides made by the brands they already favour.
Stock notes that Lamborghini, Maserati, Rolls-Royce, and Bentley are all bringing SUVs to market in comings years.
He also points out that there’s a precedent for a luxury automaker to break with tradition and develop an SUV to go along with fast 2-door sports cars: Porsche.
The Porsche Cayenne was ridiculed when it first arrived — “Just what I’ve always wanted, a big, slow Porsche,” was how the quips went — but a decade after its debut, the vehicle has been a smash hit for the German car maker.
SUVs were out of favour in the aftermath of the financial crisis, but lower gas prices have restored their luster — and enabled automakers to gather up the fatter profits that SUVs deliver.
Given all this SUV love that’s breaking out at the upper bound of the luxury market, a huge question looms: Will Ferrari build an SUV?
Former Ferrari Chairman Luca di Montezemolo might have been opposed to such a move, but now that he’s out and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ CEO Sergio Marchionne has taken over and initiated a plan to both spin Ferrari off as a separate company and increase annual production to 10,000 cars from the currently 7,000, the Ferrari SUV seems a lot more likely (FCA is Ferrari’s parent company).
A bright red SUV with the legendary Ferrari badge on the front?
Purist are already horrified. But the trend seems clear. And Ferrari won’t want to be left behind.
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