By on October 10, 2017

Ferrari emblem logo

Despite months of denial, Sergio Marchionne confirmed that Ferrari will put a sport utility vehicle into production on Monday. “We’re dead serious about this,” Marchionne said at the New York Stock Exchange earlier this week. “We need to learn how to master this whole new relationship between exclusivity and scarcity of product, then we’re going to balance this desire to grow with a widening of the product portfolio.”

The working title for Ferrari’s SUV is “FUV” and its confirmation undoes months of Marchionne’s claims that it would “never be built.” In February of 2016, the CEO even said he would have to be shot and killed before Ferrari made an SUV. For his sake, we hope that is no longer a provisional aspect of the build. 

While this news doesn’t give us a distinct timeline or specification, it’s the closest anyone has heard of a candid confirmation of a Ferrari-badged SUV. But we know the Italian brand wants to expand volume and what better way than to follow Porsche’s example of introducing a family-friendly vehicle at a less-extravagant price. Granted, it’ll still cost loads more than a Cayenne but it’ll be significantly less than a GTC4Lusso and twice as practical.

Reported by Bloomberg, Marchionne didn’t elaborate as to why Ferrari had a change of heart, but we’d bet Lamborghini’s upcoming Urus has something to do with it. Besides a production surge, Ferrari wants to double its profits by 2022 — and an SUV might be just the thing.

Of course, there is a chance the CEO’s headline-stealing Ferrari news could simply be a clever way to divert attention away from the sale of Fiat Chrysler. On Monday, Marchionne was also discussing the future of FCA. As a man serious about selling the company, he still wants it to be on his terms.

The automaker is focused on raising its profitability and spinning off some cumbersome elements of the business, but Marchionne says Jeep will stay with FCA. The growing demand for crossovers and Jeep’s increased global footprint has turned the brand into the belle of the ball. But the CEO rejected the notion of handing it over to the Chinese-owned Great Wall Motor Co., which recently expressed interest in purchasing Jeep from FCA.

Marchionne maintained that FCA would be, more or less, a package deal. But he also affirmed there doesn’t need to be a buyout for the company to persist. “It’s incorrect to assume that FCA’s future hinges on doing a deal,” he said.

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28 Comments on “Marchionne Confirms Ferrari SUV, Denies Jeep Sale...”


  • avatar
    hirostates12

    Will this damage the brand? The impact on their sale of shirts/hats//keychains/handbags/wine/condoms/pot pies/cologne/watches/sunglasses/cuff links could be enormous.

  • avatar
    Heino

    Nah Porsche and Lamborghini made farm tractors, so Ferrari will start making those too. Maybe even red fire trucks.

  • avatar
    arach

    This is going to really hurt the brand in my opinion…

    Watching Porsche Cayenne’s line the ghettos right now hurts porsche’s brand, but porsche really isn’t supposed to be an ultra selective option… instead its almost the “Practical Bargain Exotic”. I know many a 911 owners that pass over Lambo and ferrari because they can run up 100k on them and keep service bills reasonable.

    The Ferrari brand however demands the selective aire of superiority, and when they go the way of the cayennes, their brand is going to take a hit.

    Not right away… but give it 10 years or so, and then they’ll realize what they really did is convert brand equity into short term cash flow.

    Even if its an ultra-premium SUV, unless its going to go the route of an ultra low volume short term niche product, its going to cost the brand…

    • 0 avatar
      I_like_stuff

      How does it hurt Porsche’s brand exactly, when Cayenne is the #1 Porsche model in sales. Well it’s neck and neck with Macan which is also one of those brand killers, I hear so much about.

      A lot of people seem to forget that the #1 goal of Porsche is to sell cars and make obscene profits, not keep some nostalgic brand from the 70s alive for purists.

      • 0 avatar
        arach

        I_like_stuff

        I agree completely with you. Porsche doesn’t rely on “brand” the way other ultra high-lines do. They lost any sense of exclusivity with the SUVs. In fact the “Porsche Wave” pretty much died, coinciding with the SUV launch and PCA event attendees don’t really feel the SUVs are “porsches” (I can speak from experience as a Cayenne owner… went to a PCA event and they pretty much shunned me.)

        But they care about big margins and big profits, so it makes sense for porsche. The downside (Brand dilution) is minor with porsche, they actually sell more on value than any other high line. (They are expensive, but often still a great bang-for-the-buck purchase. Most Porsche owners I know bought it BECAUSE of the great performance per dollar, the more “practical” exotic).

        That doesn’t mean they don’t have any exclusive appeal, but they aren’t dependent on exclusivity.

        Contrast that with Ferrari, which is completely dependent on exclusivity. The only way they can hold their margins, branding sales, and merchandise sales is in fact to depend on this exclusivity and the eliteness of their brand.

        If, Like ClutchCarGo says, they keep the FUV as a high priced exotic that happens to be an SUV, without affordable leases, then the brand can survive it and flourish with it. Unlike others, I don’t think it has to be a “purist only” vehicle.

        However, if they are doing it to chase money and brand expansion down market, then it will truly begin to erode on the brand exclusivity.

        People won’t buy a 20 year old SUV to store in their garage. The SUV will depreciate quicker and will tug down at the low end of the brand.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      I think that it will depend on price and leasing. If the FUV stays in rarified pricing territory that prevents affordable leases, brand exclusivity can be maintained. The biggest hit will probably be with the sports car aficionados who will be appalled at the prancing horse appearing on something more than 4 feet tall.

  • avatar
    BigOldChryslers

    “We need to learn how to master this whole new relationship between exclusivity and scarcity of product…”

    The terms “product exclusivity” and “product scarcity” are pretty much the same thing, so there’s not much of a relationship there.

    Let’s assume he meant managing the relationship between supply and demand to maximize profit, which makes more sense. If that’s a new concept to Marchionne however, he still doesn’t sound any smarter.

    • 0 avatar
      Snooder

      No, “exclusivity” and “scarcity” are not the same thing.

      A million dollar home is “exclusive” in the sense that only a select few can afford them. It is not “scarce”, however, because there are plenty for sale practially everywhere.

      What Marchionne is saying is that he still wants it to only be available to the very rich, but he wants to make sure that any person rich enough to afford a ferrari, will be able to buy a ferrari they’d want. Even if that’s a four door with enough space for the kids.

      • 0 avatar
        BigOldChryslers

        I see your point about exclusivity versus scarcity. Good example. Then another example would be concert tickets: usually not very exclusive (reasonably priced) but quite scarce (limited supply). Once they’re sold-out, scalpers can jack up the prices to resell them.

        So ideally Marchionne would like to price it high enough to limit demand to exactly the number of vehicles Ferrari can build in a year, but not put an explicit/artificial cap on supply (at least not a publicized cap). Still boils down to managing supply and demand to maximize profit.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    FUV? That about sums it up.

  • avatar
    bultaco

    The difference between Porsche making the Cayenne and Ferrari making an SUV is that Porsches were always much more ‘disposable’, if you will, than Ferraris. A run of the mill 1990s Boxter or 911, on its fourth or fifth owner, is a big repair bill away from the great tennis club parking lot in the sky. The Cayenne really saved Porsche by giving them the cash flow they needed to develop new models while keeping the lights on, and no one cared that it was an SUV.

    Ferraris are much rarer and more exclusive. Third and fourth owners of even 1980s 328s, for example, tend to take care of them and rarely daily drive them, park them on the street, etc. ANY suv, I don’t care what it is, depreciates at a rate in direct proportion to its original cost. There’s nothing more shunned by rich people than an 8-10 year old Range Rover with the dash warnings lit up like a Christmas tree. A Ferrari SUV will be no different. Once its a few years old, the original buyer will want a new SUV with the latest features, and the Ferrari will hit the used car market and probably end up with someone who can’t begin to afford the upkeep, after which it becomes useless as a transportation device. That’s about when it ends up as a lawn ornament or as the gate guard at a BHPH lot.

    • 0 avatar
      I_like_stuff

      “A run of the mill 1990s Boxter or 911, on its fourth or fifth owner, is a big repair bill away from the great tennis club parking lot in the sky.”

      That goes for all expensive cars. A 5 year old S-Class can be had for $35K, while a new one is over $100K. Expensive cars depreciate fast because a) rich people can always afford to buy the latest model and b) non-rich people can’t afford the maintenance.

      • 0 avatar
        TwoBelugas

        Really though, since 10 year old S class temporarily driven home from BHPH lots in “urbanite housing developments” everywhere has affect the opinion of mercedes benz in maybe a few hundred people and all of them post on car blog sites, what is the worst that can happen?

        Daimler is still selling new S classes at MSRP. So what exactly does Ferrari need to worry about? Saudi kids will continue to drive them on narrow streets of London, Brunei kings will continue to buy them and let them rot away in garages, Chinese communist party princelings will still buy them with cash them bomb around Vancouver and Hongkong, and no a single f is given by us plebs.

      • 0 avatar
        arach

        I wish I could buy a 5 year old ferrari for $35k.

        The lack of depreciation on a Ferrari blows my mind. 15 year old examples in mediocre shape are still worth half their new car price, and yet an S- class depreciates to 50% in about 3 years.

        A 2006 Porsche Cayenne can be had for $9000, which MSRPed for $57k
        A 2006 Ferrari F430 takes close to $100k, but MSRPed for 192k

        The prior depreciated 84%, while the latter 48%.

    • 0 avatar
      chuckrs

      “8-10 old Range Rover” You just need to show up in a mid 60’s Land Rover Series II. Have a discreet sticker announcing you are a member of the local Herresoff S Class fleet. Herresoff, the only S Class worth owning…. And you can look down on all the rich parvenus who might look down on a driver of a tacky used Range Rover.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Grammatical nit:

    “Sergio Marchionne confirmed that Ferrari will put a sport utility vehicle into production on Monday”

    should read:

    “On Monday, Sergio Marchionne confirmed that Ferrari will put a sport utility vehicle into production”

    At first read, I was going to be shocked that Ferrari’s already tooled up a vehicle that nobody’s even heard of.

    As for this car itself – good for Ferrari; it’s about time they do this.

  • avatar
    Fred

    Well once Lotus said they would make a SUV I gave up caring. It’s just a business after all. Now I would be shocked if Morgan made an SUV.

  • avatar
    RHD

    Marchionne: “Hey, are they done putting the spoilers and red paint on all those leftover Jeep Compasses and stuff? Well, hurry it up, we only have until Monday to get ’em all ready!”

  • avatar
    Shortest Circuit

    I’m looking forward for the platform they choose to use. I can’t see them develop their own, no time for that. The Lambo Urus is based on the company Q7/Cayenne/Touareg, so the Ferrari will be based on… the Cherokee Trackhawk?

  • avatar
    NeilM

    Talking of unlikely SUV’s, I spotted a Bentley Bentayga the other day while in the UK. Seemed kind of Escalade-ish in size, which made it positively massive in European terms. I was about to get into my tiny-by-comparison rental Vauxhall Astra hatchback in a hotel parking lot as it slowly drove by, probably searching for the pair of contiguous spaces it was going to need.


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