Without that title: — Romeo, doff thy name;
And for thy name, which is no part of thee,
Take all myself.
Obvious Italinate referencing aside, the above reflects Maserati’s process on renaming its brand-new SUV, which will soon be a thing valeted in front of every El Divino nightclub across this fair planet. Instead of Kubang, which conjures up unpleasant images of William Hung, it’ll now be called Levante–”as in Via Emilia Levante in Bologna,” says the Maserati press release, “where the Maserati brothers, almost a century ago, dreamt of the company that today still bears their name.”
Certainly more poetic than an ironic American Idol contestant, from a company whose own name conjures up poetry and whispers of Mediterranean breezes–rather unlike the Maserati Levante, come to think of it.
Maserati is also planning the names for future product. The Quattroporte sedan will be called, er, Quattroporte, which means “four-doored” in Italian and thereby wins the award for Accuracy in Self-Effacing Advertising. A new midsize luxury sedan will compete against the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and BMW 5-Series, with the name Ghibli–a historical name for Maserati, last used on a slinky two-seater GT from the 1960s and later as a trim level on one of those wretched, Chrysler K-car based 1980s Maseratis. The use of the name on a sedan may seem like a travesty on a Dodge Charger level, but from that dark period of Maserati, not so much.
Maserati aims to build and more importantly sell 50,000 cars per year by 2015. The automotive climate in Europe seems to be at extremes right now: hyper-luxury cars are booming, as well as ultra cheap cars. If Maserati decides to copy Aston Martin and build a Cygnet, it’ll have no shortage of names to select from (Merak, Bora, Karif, etc). What’s in a name, Maserati? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.