The International Harvester Scout is an iconic North American SUV, and what made it weird was that International weren’t exactly known for their civilian vehicles, instead mostly making farm equipment and heavy-duty trucks. Iveco, similar to IH, are almost entirely known for their range of trucks and vans, but in the mid-2000s they gave making an SUV a go.
Despite Iveco’s Italian ownership, the Massif is Spanish. This is because the Massif’s story starts with the Santana company, who built Land Rovers under licence for quite some time, and are well known to LR enthusiasts.
Santana and Land Rover parted ways in 1983, but Santana kept developing vehicles based on the Land Rover platform, even when Santana started producing Suzuki-based offroaders. Santana’s last Land Rover-based vehicle would be the PS10, launched in 1999 as a concept and entering production in 2002. Santana had entered another joint venture with Iveco to provide the powertrain for the PS10, which was essentially a Fiat Multijet 4-cylinder diesel unit.
Iveco took over the project completely in 2006, rebading the PS10 to the Iveco Massif. Giugiaro redesigned the front end and a shiny new Iveco badge was slapped on in place of the old Santana badge.
While a truck manufacturer like Iveco suddenly getting into the car business sounds weird, a vehicle like the Massif is a logical way to go about it. The Massif was aimed squarely at farmers and commercial users in rural areas, similar in scope to things like the Defender on which it’s based, or the Toyota 70 Series Land Cruiser.
Alongside the four-door station wagon model, a two door pickup was also available, playing even more into it’s agricultural and industrial leanings.
Despite Iveco’s big plans for the Massif launching them into the stratosphere as the world’s leading brand of offroad vehicles or whatever they thought it would make them, the Massif never really caught on. It was rather ugly, incredibly underpowered, and people who wanted a Defender, just bought a Defender. Slow sales resulted in it’s discontinuation in 2011 happening without much fanfare. The discontinuation of the Massif would also result in Santana’s closure as well, as they had been the ones building the Massif and had terminated their other joint venture with Suzuki in 2009, leaving Santana with no future without the Massif or Suzuki and forcing them to close in 2011.
But, who knows, maybe another truck or tractor manufacturer will give making an SUV or pickup truck a shot again. Navistar International (the successor to International Harvester) do make a Chevy Silverado-based truck imaginatively called the CV.
Maybe we’ll see a Suburban with an International badge called the Travelall someday. It’s unlikely, but one can dream.