Some of your favorite car pictures were probably taken long ago in beautiful lighting conditions, with bright colors and perhaps a smiling model standing next to that cool car on a lovely summer day. Unfortunately, automakers rarely go for that sort of photo now. Instead, companies like BMW, Porsche and now Maserati release “official” spy photos that show absolutely nothing, and I hate them.
If you’re confused by what an “official” spy photo could be, good. You should be. It doesn’t make any damn sense. Those three words are meant to communicate that you’re looking at officially-released automaker photo of a car in camouflage. Often the pictures are taken from a vantage that makes them seem kind of like genuine “spy photos” captured by a genuine spy photographer working to photograph a car an automaker doesn’t actually want you to see. That is not what this is.
What Maserati has gone through the trouble of paying someone to go out in the streets of Italy to photograph its upcoming Grecole compact crossover that hasn’t been officially revealed yet. The result is three blurry images of a blue shape. They’re totally useless, and actually call attention to just how dumb the entire notion is.
Again, these images, which show absolutely nothing interesting or exciting about the product, were staged, taken and released by Maserati. They wanted you to look at these pictures, and how do you feel now? I’m not sure they thought about it much, but I’m writing about them, so maybe they think it’s a win?
Maserati is not the only guilty party. I lambasted Porsche for doing the exact same thing with the Porsche Macan, though those images were staged far better and actually showed the product navigating some interesting terrain. Maserati actively decided to shoot and distribute photos that don’t do either of those things.
This trend should stop. Test your cars in secret, or test them on roads where you know there are spy photographers (like around the Nürburgring, where many automakers test cars on track).
This new habit of releasing useless photos mocked up to be something they’re not is annoying and just embarrassing for a luxury brand. It could suggest the model is not appealing enough on its own to attract spy photographers in the first place. Maybe that’s the hard truth.