A Ferrari SUV?
Will the Prancing Horse make a truck!?
We’re in a huge anteroom in Detroit’s Cobo Arena. Right now it’s FCA and Ferrari boss Sergio Marchionne working the floor. After 14 years at the helm, Marchionne has the air of a war-weary old general, but even as he enters the twilight era as FCA CEO—18 months to go—he remains as colorful and charismatic as ever.
We decide the time is right to bring up the Unmentionable. The small matter of Ferrari’s mooted entry into the most profitable of all segments, the SUV. Mr. Marchionne, BBC
TopGear here. I’d like to ask you about another truck, the FUV, the Ferrari utility vehicle… “You called it a truck??” Well, what would you call it? “I’d call it an FUV. It’s whatever Ferrari thinks a utility vehicle ought to look like.” Can you elaborate please? “Yeah, it’s whatever Ferrari thinks a utility vehicle will look like. Look, by definition it’s going to drive like a Ferrari, it has to. We don’t know how to do it otherwise. There are enough people outside Ferrari who would go absolutely nuts if I tried to do that. Just a utility vehicle.”
We know Ferrari is flat-out developing whatever “a utility vehicle ought to look like,” and Centro Stile has worked up a number of proposals. While Flavio Manzoni and his team are a highly talented crew, they’re not magicians.
Yet how long can the most prestigious, and profitable, car brand of all hold out, as the super-luxury SUV axis is tilted further by the Bentley Bentayga, Rolls-Royce Cullinan, and Lamborghini Urus? No more: we’d put money on Ferrari unveiling the, um, FUV at the Geneva show in 2020. Marchionne went further still. He told
Bloomberg that if there is an electric supercar to be built, then Ferrari would be first. “People are amazed at what Tesla did with a supercar; I’m not trying to minimize what Elon did, but I think it’s doable by all of us.” Marchionne will continue to run Ferrari until
2021, two years after stepping down at FCA. He’s spoken in the past about the challenges of balancing Ferrari’s exclusive allure against the current plan to double operating profit to around
€2 billion (P127 billion) by 2022. He seems to have reconciled himself with these expansion goals, and the shareholders demand it, so get set for Ferrari sales to surge past 10,000, buoyed—or compromised, depending on your view—by non-traditional models.