Marchionne Promises to Keep Ferrari’s DNA
Luca di Montezemolo, the now former President of Ferrari and apprentice to Enzo Ferrari himself, is now officially out as head of Ferrari, and Fiat Chrysler CEO, Sergio Marchionne, is in. The change in leadership has been a bit concerning for Ferrari enthusiasts and owners, but Marchionne has promised that Ferrari’s DNA will not be diluted by new strategies.
Marchionne told CNBC in a recent interview, “The business itself is in good hands with FCA. As long as we don’t screw up the DNA of Ferrari.”
Since the Ferrari’s inception in the late 1940s, the company has worked (although not always successfully) to be at the absolute pinnacle of automotive technology and performance — a position that Marchionne is keen to retain. In the long term, that could prove to be the easy part. Retaining the myth and exclusivity surrounding the company could be difficult without the di Montezemolo at the helm, who had earned the trust and respect of Ferrari buyers since holding position in 1991.
One of Marchionne’s more controversial strategies has been the decision to expand production of Ferrari’s core models to meet the demands of a growing population of wealthy individuals worldwide. Ferrari produced about 6,500 cars last year, but Marchionne wants to see that number increased to around 10,000. It’s not a huge amount, but di Montezemolo was always a fan of keeping supply just short of demand to pump up residual values — a strategy that was always appreciated by owners.
Click past the jump to learn more about Ferrari’s DNA.
Why it matters
Marchionne stepped in as President of Ferrari on the pretense that he wanted to fix Ferrari’s struggling Formula 1 team, but a look at FCA’s annual report for 2013 reveals some interesting figures. Despite selling only 6,500 of the 4.4 million cars sold by FCA as a whole, Ferrari accounted for a whopping 12 percent of FCA’s earnings. No wonder Marchionne wants to expand production.
The path to increased profits to bolster FCA’s future and retaining the mythos of Ferrari will likely be a narrow one.
The recently unveiled Ferrari F60America could end up being one of the last ultra-exclusive Ferraris built during di Montezemolo’s tenure. It’s built around the F12berlinetta hyper-GT, but features an open top and thoroughly altered bodywork. Its 6.3-liter V12 produces 730 horsepower, which allows it to sprint to 60 mph in just 3.1 seconds. All 10 examples, each designated for sale in the United States, are sold out. At $2.5 million a pop, it’s a textbook example of Montezemolo’s fewer cars, more profit ethos.