Ferrari’s Utility Vehicle: Prancing Horse gears up for new territory
Ferrari boss finally confirms the brand is moving into the cashed-up SUV scene, writes Michael Taylor
Ferrari’s famous Prancing Horse will soon be towing horses, with CEO Sergio Marchionne confirming the supercar maker is developing an SUV.
The long-rumoured move is already under the preliminary engineering spotlight in Maranello, with Marchionne confirming to reporters at the New York Stock Exchange that the SUV’s production decisions are just 30 months away, slated for around mid-2020.
Marchionne rang the opening bell at the stock exchange recently before admitting to the Ferrari "FUV" that Jeep is not for sale to anybody as a separate entity, largely because he feared for the "stump" that would be left behind at Fiat Chrysler. "FUV" is not code for anything particularly rude, but stands for Ferrari Utility Vehicle (though to some tifosi, that’s rude enough).
"We’re serious about this [SUV]," Marchionne says. "We need to learn how to master this new relationship between exclusivity and scarcity of product, then we’re going to balance the desire to grow with a widening of the product portfolio."
While purists decry Ferrari’s move away from a supercar company into something broader, Marchionne is looking at the successes and growing pile of cash over the border at Porsche.
But the move is likely to smash Ferrari’s self-imposed production limit of 10,000 cars a year, which is the balancing act he is concerned about.
Porsche took the leap into the SUV world in 2002 and sold 72,000 Cayennes in 2016 (down from a peak of 82,000 in 2013) and is on track to build 75,000 Macans a year, both at its Leipzig plant in Germany.
Ferrari’s path into SUVs has been made easier by confirmation the Lamborghini Urus will be in limited production by the end of 2017, though Lamborghini had an SUV history with the LM002 in the 1980s.
Jaguar is another nontraditional brand that has moved into SUVs, while the genre dominates profits at BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz and is being toyed with at Aston Martin.
It is understood Marchionne views the FUV as a long-term replacement for the GT4CLusso, and its interior packaging would reflect that ambition.
"It has not been done to compete with Porsche. You would have to shoot me first," Marchionne says.
While Ferrari mainly keeps to its limited production to avoid emissions fines, it is comfortable that its hybrid technologies would let it boost production without costing any more money or emitting more carbon dioxide than it does today. If it comes to fruition, it will be one of the final acts in the 65-year-old’s tenure as Ferrari boss.