“YOU’D have to shoot me first.” Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne didn’t leave a lot of wiggle room on the prospects of the company ever building an SUV. That was in February 2016.
Now it appears that Sergio might have to start getting his Zegna suits Kevlar-lined. More than one source has confirmed that a Ferrari SUV is on the cards. Just bear in mind that if you ever call it an SUV in the hallowed halls of Maranello, you might be the one who cops the bullet.
Bloomberg has recently confirmed initial rumours of a high-riding utility vehicle in Ferrari’s plans, part of a scheme to increase annual production beyond 10,000 cars and, in turn, double profits by 2022. The 10,000 car limit is key here because once production exceeds that number, more stringent fuel economy and emissions rules are levied on the manufacturer.
Our sister title in the UK, Car, has reported that the ‘SUV’ project has the internal designation F16X and that the vehicle will be a sporty, albeit jacked-up coupe with hybrid power built on the same lines as the GTC4Lusso. The rear doors will be disguised to give a sleeker profile, with no conventional B-pillars. It’s also alleged that an eight cylinder engine will be fitted rather than a V12.
Growth markets – especially China – are a target for the Ferrari utility vehicle, which may well be a lifted four-seater crossover along the lines of Aston Martin’s DBX concept rather than a more traditional lumbering wagon. With Porsche, Bentley and Maserati already in the game and both Lamborghini’s eagerly-awaited Urus and Rolls Royce’s behemoth Cullinan also waiting in the wings, it makes solid financial sense for Ferrari to launch an SUV.
Marchionne’s recently unveiled five-year plan takes him through to his proposed retirement in 2021 and, if sources are to be believed, will be part of a push to increase electrification across the range and to introduce a second shift to the Maranello plant which is Ferrari’s only manufacturing facility.
Ferrari’s sales stood at 8014 in 2016 and the current target is to boost sales to 9000 cars in 2019. For many years, there was a voluntary 7000 car limit on Ferrari production to protect the exclusivity of the brand. Analysts at Mediobanca SpA, UBS Group AG and Bernstein predict deliveries could jump to as high as 15,000 under Marchionne’s new plan.
Unlike Lamborghini, Ferrari has no SUV in its back catalogue to lend a historical authenticity to its move into this new market sector. Building a vehicle with more space than the current all-wheel drive GTC4Lusso would risk diluting Ferrari’s brand, but it seems as if Marchionne’s parting legacy could be to drench the company in new money. Consider that trigger pulled.
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