Ferrari has confirmed via its boss, Sergio Marchionne, that it is seriously evaluating the feasibility of a Prancing Horse-badge SUV, though a final decision will not be made until at least 2020.
Bloomberg reports Marchionne saying, "We’re dead serious about this." However, before a decision is made, the brand must "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.”
Marchionne had previously fuelled speculation, having announced that the Italian supercar maker will "reinvent the concept of a vehicle that has some utilitarian features," indicating recent rumours of a Ferrari SUV are true, although the brand remains characteristically secretive about the development.
Ferrari executives at the 2017 Frankfurt motor show stuck to the company line with tech boss Michael Leiters saying, “We have many projects, many concepts, but there is no programme and nothing has been confirmed.”
During Ferrari's 2017 Q2 press conference, Marchionne stated: “I think that if we allow the Ferrari engineers to reinvent the concept of a vehicle that has some utilitarian features, I think the answer is, it will probably happen, but it will happen Ferrari style. And Ferrari has been known historically for being able to redefine and define automotive segments. But I don’t want it to be a UV – I want it to be what Ferrari thinks is appropriate. But no decision has been made yet.”
However, despite Marchionne's comments, a Ferrari spokesman said: "With reference to recent speculation in the international press, Ferrari will not be launching an SUV."
It was reported in July that the long-rumoured Ferrari SUV was still on the cards. Auto analyst Max Warburton claimed the future model is being called an FUV (Ferrari Utility Vehicle) and does not have visible rear doors.
Last month, Ferrari’s commercial boss Enrico Galliera told Autocar: “We are not producing an SUV, because an SUV is not a sports car – it can be fast, but it’s not a sports car. We are not producing a four-door because, while a four-door can be fast, it’s not a sports car.”
He added: “Ferrari has to remain consistent, doing what we know to do, which is delivering cars that are able to deliver emotion. Sports cars.”
However, Warburton claimed it is a “question of semantics”, stating that while Ferrari management continues to tell investors that it will not build an SUV or a model with four doors, the rear doors will not be visible and will instead “use a clever hidden arrangement”.
The model, expected to launch in 2021, would rival cars such as the Lamborghini Urus, Rolls-Royce Cullinan and Aston Martin DBX.
Warburton estimates that 2,000 to 3,000 units would be sold per year.
While Ferrari continues to be evasive on the topic, a more practical model has huge potential for the Italian brand, given the trend for high-riding vehicles and the popularity of ultra-luxury SUVs worldwide, and particularly in the growing Chinese market.
Competitors Lamborghini, Rolls-Royce and Aston Martin are already far into development of their respective SUVs, while Bentley’s Bentayga accounts for a significant portion of its sales.
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