The Ferrari plan to build an SUV has been the subject of much conjecture in recent weeks, as reports surfaced that the iconic Italian supercar maker is seriously considering a product push beyond its traditional supercar fare in a bid to double profits by 2022.
Now Ferrari’s CEO Sergio Marchionne has weighed in to quash the speculation, or at least put the official Ferrari spin on it. Speaking on the burning issue of a Ferrari SUV on a conference call, Marchionne said: “It will probably happen but it will happen in Ferrari’s style.
“That space is too big and too inviting and we have a lot of our customers who will be more than willing to drive a Ferrari-branded vehicle that has that kind of utilitarian objective.”
Sources cited by the Bloomberg news agency have suggested that the ‘Ferrari Utility Vehicle’ could form part of a new five-year-plan designed to boost sales beyond Ferrari’s current self-imposed limit of 10,000 cars per year.
The firm primarily keeps to this limit to stay on the correct side of emissions rulings in some markets, though it ensures a level of exclusivity for the brand too.
Having previously strongly denied that Ferrari would ever venture into the SUV segment, Marchionne reiterated that Ferrari would not be creating an SUV in the mould of those offered by other manufacturers and that “you have to shoot me first” if it did. “It has not been done to compete with Porsche” he said, referencing the German brand’s hugely profitable move into the SUV sector with its Cayenne.
It’s understood that further hybridisation of the Ferrari range is also under consideration, to ensure it can continue to grow sales without breaking emissions rules.
Bloomberg says that we could get our first official inkling of the brand’s long term plan in early 2018, which could line up with an FCA product briefing scheduled for early next year. Should Ferrari decide to go down the SUV avenue, it will be among the final acts of Marchionne, who will step down as boss of the Fiat Chrysler Group in 2019, followed by bowing out of Ferrari in 2021.
The appeal of a Bloomberg sources described as a new “four-seat family car that offers more space than Ferrari’s current two-door GT4CLusso”, is centred mainly around Asian markets, with Chinese customers in Ferrari’s marketing crosshairs.
The firm has consistently rejected rumours that it will enter the SUV market in the past, but it seems to be positioning itself to avoid a complete U-turn by billing its utility vehicle as forming a new industry segment, rather than following in the footsteps of Bentley, Maserati and even Lamborghini with traditional SUVs.
Will Ferrari do the unthinkable and produce an SUV? Cast your prediction in the comments!