4 October 2004

This is the first project to come from the collabaration between Italian styling house and coachbuilder Pininfarina and Matra, after Pininfarina bought the ailing French car maker last year. The Double-Face project aims to demonstrate the potential for low-volume niche models based on existing components. It is engineered to be built around a manufacturer’s existing platform, which would then have the upper structure re-worked. Pininfarina exhibited two different three-door SUVs, (an on-road SUV and an off-road coupé) which differed greatly in styling but had only minor underbody changes at last week’s Paris Show. The key to the project is a one-piece roof rail that extends from front to back. The angle of the roof rail can be easily altered, changing the roofline.

However, the only structural part that’s changed is the inner C-pillar pressing.

The red ‘coupé’ is skinned with plastic body panels and the blue ‘SUV’ is skinned with conventional steel panels. Pininfarina says over a five-year period it could build around 60,000 off-roaders and 100,000 of the steel-bodied on-roader.

Concepts such as the Double Face are intended to attract large car makers who are increasingly diversifying into niche models.

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