Marchionne stokes Ferrari SUV interest
NEW YORK -- Sergio Marchionne confirmed speculation that Ferrari will make its first SUV while tamping down rumors that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles may part ways with Jeep.
Ferrari is beyond just considering an SUV and will take about 30 months to decide on production, which will be limited to preserve exclusivity, Marchionne told reporters Monday at the New York Stock Exchange. The comments went a step further from when the CEO said during an August earnings call that an SUV would “probably happen.”
“We’re dead serious about this,” Marchionne said of what he referred to as the “FUV” model. “We need to 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, 65, said Fiat Chrysler won’t consider selling Jeep as a separate entity. The CEO has spoken about the rationale against splitting Jeep from the rest of Fiat Chrysler before, telling analysts in July that Fiat Chrysler needed “to worry about the stump that’s left behind.”
Marchionne has increased the value of Fiat Chrysler for top shareholder Exor and other investors by spinning off units and spending heavily on a global expansion of the Jeep SUV brand. Worldwide sales of the profitable vehicle type will probably increase by 9.4 million units from 2017 to 2024, accounting for two thirds of the auto industry’s expansion, IHS Markit estimates.
Ferrari will present a new five-year plan that runs through 2022 in the first quarter of 2018, Bloomberg News reported in August. The Maranello, Italy-based company is considering adding a roomy four-seat “utility vehicle” as part of a major expansion push beyond its traditional supercar niche in a bid to double profit by 2022, people familiar with the matter said at the time.