Ferrari Wants To Hit 9,000 Units A Year By 2019
After years of resisting the urge to boost its output, Ferrari is now seriously considering upping its production capacity as it begins dealing with the responsibilities of being on its own. Ferrari chairman and CEO, Sergio Marchionne, told reporters at the 2016 North American International Auto Show that Maranello is considering this move in light of growing pressure to validate the company’s decision to split away from parent company Fiat Chrysler and become its own company.
It hasn’t helped Ferrari’s cause that its stock prices have fallen 16 percent since its initial public offering back in October 2015. It may not be reason for panic in Maranello, but if those prices continue to trend south, then there’s going to be a lot of frantic people over in Italy. So, Ferrari is now considering something it was previously rigid against. According to Marchionne, the company is looking at whether its existing market would be able to handle having more than 9,000 Ferrari units being sold in 2019. That total isn’t really that far from its projection of selling 7,700 units in 2015, a number that would already be an increase of 500 units from the 7,200 models it sold in 2014.
In theory, the company could jumpstart this expansion by introducing an entry-level model that could sit just below the California T. Such a model - a possible revival of the Dino nameplate - has already hit the rumor mill and could be in line to receive a turbocharged V-6 engine. Marchionne himself told Autocar back in June 2015 that a V-6 Ferrari is ”not a question of if but when."
Still, reaching 9,000 units also presents its own challenges, especially now that performance cars are being sold less in China, a traditionally bullish market for Ferrari. If the company does strive for 9,000 units by 2019, it would have to rely on the U.S. and North America to account for the biggest chunk of that volume. IHS Automotive estimates that the U.S. alone would account for 35 percent of deliveries by 2020.
Whatever steps Ferrari takes in the next few years, it’s clear that it’s going to have to sacrifice a few things in order for its business to continue at its current level. Whether that sacrifice is geared towards its image or not is a question only the company can answer in due time. But, the point is clear. Ferrari’s independence means that it’s going to have to make its own decisions from here on out.
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Why it matters
Ever since Ferrari officially split from Fiat Chrysler, a lot of people, including myself, have wondered what the company’s first step was going to be. It’s like the college freshman who has left home to be on his own. It certainly couldn’t keep the status quo now that it doesn’t have FCA to fall back on.
In the back of my head, I knew that it would come to a point wherein the company would consider increasing its production in order to keep business in this level. I just didn’t know that it would happen so soon. Granted, the slipping share prices is playing a big role in this, and even if higher volumes could stain the brand’s image, the allure is pretty cut-and-dry. More models means more money coming into Ferrari, and if it’s going to stand on its own two feet, it’s going to need a sustainable business model that will allow it to continue in its current course without any slippage.
Remember, when Ferrari posted that IPO back in October 2015, it pretty much invited a lot of people to own a stake in the company, small and infinitesimal as their shares might be. These “new” owners should rightfully expect to see some growth in their investments. It’s not enough that they have shares in the company; they’d like to see a return on that investment at some point.
Personally, I’m confident that Ferrari will be able to continue operating on this level. No matter how anybody tries to spin its struggles, it’s still Ferrari. It’s the most desirable car brand in the world and as long as there is demand for its cars, it’s not going to have any problems selling its models. That said, I share the company’s concerns about the Chinese market, and like everybody else, I hope the economic downturn in that country shows signs of recovery. Regardless of brand or industry, it’s just better for everybody else if the Chinese consumer market is in full bloom.
Read our full review on the Ferrari 488 GTB here.