Years ago, it would have been laughable to even suggest a Ferrari SUV. For years, the Italian automaker had built its reputation on speed and performance, and sports utility vehicles aren’t exactly the first vehicles one would think of when talking speed and performance. But given how much things have changed in the automotive space in recent years, Ferrari now looks to be ready to give the SUV market a try, though it’s far from sure when the company will release such a vehicle.
According to a report from Bloomberg, the possibility of a Ferrari SUV expansion was confirmed earlier in the week at the automaker’s second-quarter earnings conference call. And while this may bring to mind the possibility of the company focusing mainly on the utilitarian side of things, rather than high performance and flashy design, Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne stressed that exclusivity will still be at a premium, as his company hopes to “reinvent” the SUV space.
“It will probably happen but it will happen in Ferrari’s style. That space is too big and too inviting and we have a lot of our customers who will be more than willing to drive a Ferrari-branded vehicle that has that king of utilitarian objective.”
As noted by Motor Trend, Marchionne’s recent statement marks a complete turnaround from Ferrari’s previous stand on sports utility vehicles. In 2014, outgoing chief executive Luca Cordero di Montezemolo and incoming CEO Marchionne had both promised that Ferrari will never release an SUV or four-door sedan, what with both vehicles being so far removed from what the automaker is known for – fast and stylish supercars.
Three years have passed since then, and Marchionne is now open to the idea of complementing Ferrari’s supercar lineup with an SUV or two, including a four-seat “utility vehicle,” according to sources familiar with the situation who spoke to Bloomberg. The introduction of this vehicle is seen as a way for Ferrari to double its profit figures by 2022 and increase annual deliveries from about 8,400 for the current year to a “self-imposed” limit of 10,000 cars five years from now.
Based on Marchionne’s comments, however, the potential first-ever Ferrari SUV may be very different from vehicles such as the Bentley Bentayga and Porsche Cayenne, as well as the upcoming Lamborghini Urus and Aston Martin DBX. He stressed that someone will “have to shoot (him) first” if Ferrari’s first SUV competes against the likes of Porsche, before making one very important final point: The automaker’s board has yet to officially decide on whether it will be building any kind of sports utility vehicle as part of its new five-year plan.
Even if nothing concrete has been confirmed at this point in the game, the mere possibility of a Ferrari SUV could have purists screaming “heresy” should it see the light of day. But as Forbes wrote, that’s a reaction that may very well be expected, as there have been several “car-only” automakers, the aforementioned Bentley and Porsche included, who had shocked longtime fans by offering sports utility vehicles. And while purists were indeed furious over Porsche’s first-ever Cayenne SUV in 2003, Forbes noted that SUVs now take up over 60 percent of Porsche’s U.S. sales, despite its long-running reputation as a sports car maker.
[Featured Image by Caroline Spiezio/AP Images]