MARANELLO -- Ferrari's first SUV will be called the Purosangue (Italian for thoroughbred). The car will launch in 2022.
The Purosangue will sit on a front mid-engine architecture, one of the two that will equip all future Ferraris. It will have a hybrid drivetrain, which the company said will power 60 percent of all Ferraris sold by 2022. It will also have new, innovative suspensions with variable ground clearance.
Ferrari calls the Purosangue a four-door utility vehicle. Its code-name is FUV (Ferrari utility vehicle). "I abhor hearing SUV in the same sentence as Ferrari," CEO Louis Camilleri said at the presentation of the company's latest business plan here on Tuesday. "SUV just does not sit well with Ferrari."
Camilleri said he was "skeptical" when the concept was first voiced to the company's board. "Having now seen the wonderful design and the extraordinary features I am a hugely enthusiastic supporter," he said.
Ferrari's sales marketing chief, Enrico Galliera, told investors that recent growth acceleration of the Gran Turismo market is "mainly driven by luxury SUV segment."
Between next year and 2022, there will be 15 new model launches, and the average retail price for cars will increase "significantly," Galliiera said. One notably departure from its high-powered heritage will be the introduction of smaller V-6 engines, which were also announced at the investor meeting.
Ferrari's management admitted that the SUV's launch in 2022 at the end of its new five-year business plan will hamper the company's ability to grow its business in China.
According to Bernstein analyst Max Warburton Ferrari's SUV must hit two very different targets: on the one hand, it has to be fastest, lightest, most agile SUV of all time, he said in an investor presentaton. Ferrari has the engineering expertise to build such a car, but it would be extreme and hard riding, and it will sell poorly in China. On the other hand, it must have plentiful rear seat and leg room, easy entry/exit for rear seat passengers and a sizeable trunk. Such a vehicle could unlock China for Ferrari "at last," Warburton said.
Last year former Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne promised to introduce the fastest SUV to the market. Camilleri's presentation on Tuesday pushed back the introduction of the model by a full two years. Asked why Ferrari has delayed the launch of the Purosangue, Camilleri said: "We have to get it perfect, we just need a bit more time."
The Purosangue will meet an increasingly crowded field of ultra-luxury or high-performance SUVs: Lamborghini has the Urus, Rolls-Royce the Cullinan, and Bentley the Bentayga. Lower on the price ladder, there is the Maserati Levante and the Jaguar F-Pace, while Mercedes-Benz just upgraded its G Wagon, which -- despite its rugged no-frills appearance -- commands a luxury price tag.
Asked by Fidelity Investments analyst Jerry Rivera whether the Purosangue would account for more than half of the automaker's sales, as is the case for Lamborghini and Porsche, Camilleri replied: "I'm not sure what our mix will be. The car will be expensive, rest assured, so that maybe a hamper volumes. And we don't see the current SUVs as competitive benchmarks."
Bloomberg contributed to this report