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Maserati Gets Into the SUV Business

kubang1.jpg

 (Maserati)

Remember the Chrysler TC by Maserati from the Lee Iacocca era? Well, say hello to the Maserati Kubang by Jeep.

After years of toying with the idea, the Italian luxury sports car maker has officially announced its intention to build an SUV, citing synergies available through the addition of its off-roading relative to the Fiat family.

The concept, revealed at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, carries many of the styling cues found on the company’s sedans and coupes, including a gaping maw grille and the shape of its side glass, but without looking like a caricature of either.

The Kubang’s underpinnings have not been revealed, but the stance of the two-row crossover appears to be very similar to that of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, on which it is believed to be based. Rumor has it that the Kubang will even be built on the same Detroit assembly line as its corporate cousin.

Nevertheless, Maserati promises unique styling, handling and performance, as well as an engine designed and built in Modena, Italy powering the Kubang when it enters production. When that will be isn't exactly clear, but the automaker also announced at the show its intention to rapidly increase sales from 6,400 cars a year today to close to 45,000 by 2014.

The Kubang is sure to figure into the expanded portfolio of vehicles needed to reach that number which will likely also include two and four-door models smaller and less expensive than its current lineup of GranTurismo coupes and Quattroporte sedans.

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