Report: Marchionne Quashes Ferrari SUV and Four-Door Speculation
Softening fears that Ferrari is on a downward spiral which would end in the introduction of seemingly heretical SUV and four-door models, soon-to-be CEO Sergio Marchionne told reporters in Paris not to worry. According to Autocar, Marchionne said that Ferrari will continue to build two-door sports cars, and contrary to earlier reports, maintain Ferrari's current levels of production.
Ferrari has opted out of the SUV craze, although other luxury nameplates like Lamborghini, Maserati, Bentley, and Aston Martin are all still interested. "Marchionne wanted to build a truck," outgoing Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo playfully jeered in his final press conference at this week's Paris auto show, "but I talked him out of it."
Luca di Montezemolo resigned last month, effective October 13, after a public spat with Marchionne over the direction of Ferrari's future. Ferrari's lackluster Formula 1 performance last year may have played a role in di Montezemolo's departure, as Marchionne told reporters in Paris that his top, "non-negotiable objective" is to get Ferrari back on the F1 podium, but the two executives also reportedly sparred over the Ferrari brand's role within the Fiat-Chrysler empire.
Marchionne had also previously indicated that he would meet the demand for Ferrari among a growing class of elite buyers, out of concern that the long-held waiting list for the Italian exotics tends to make people tired. di Montezemolo was a vocal advocate of limiting production to about 7000 annual units, but now Marchionne has apparently cooled on the matter, telling reporters he's happy with the current production volumes. He also indicated that Ferrari will remain operational as a distinct entity apart from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, claiming "the mixing of their blood would be fatal to both."
All of this information should sound like good news to long-time Ferrari buffs, but it also speaks to Marchionne's somewhat inconsistent and unpredictable nature. We'll have to wait and see to know for sure where Marchionne will lead Ferrari, despite assertions one way or the other.