Maranello - In a move that's sure to upset many of its fans, Ferrari plans to launch a crossover vehicle as one of 15 new models that new chief executive Louis Camilleri hopes will double core earnings by 2022. Hybrid cars and new special editions are also part of the plan.
"This is an ambitious plan, but a doable one based on a concrete, detailed framework," Camilleri said on Tuesday at the company's Maranello headquarters in Italy.
The crossover will be built on a new front-mid-engine architecture, and will be called "Purosangue" (Thoroughbred). It is expected to be available with both petrol and petrol-electric hybrid drivetrains.
The vehicle could boost Ferrari's sales significantly and Ferrari expects it to help lure the super rich in China.
Announcing the future plans at an event in Maranello on Tuesday, Camilleri sought to sooth concerns that the vehicle could dilute Ferrari's exclusive status.
"As a die-hard Ferrarista, I have been a little sceptical when the concept was first voiced at the board," the known Ferrari collector said.
"Having now seen the wonderful design concept, the extraordinary features ... I am a hugely enthusiastic supporter."
Six-cylinder engine coming too
The company said hybrid vehicles would make up around 60 percent of its product mix by the end of the plan, while a smaller six-cylinder engine would be added to its lineup of petrol engines.
Ferrari declined to give any forecast for sales other than saying that more than half of those would be sportscars. This year's deliveries are forecast at over 9000 vehicles.
Ferrari ruled out a self-driving car.
New boss inherits fat margins
Marchionne's sudden death in July jolted investors who had expected the motor industry grandee to remain at the wheel until 2021, having more than doubled Ferrari's market value since taking it public in 2015.
Camilleri and his team outlined a plan to show how a brand known for its racing pedigree and roaring petrol-powered supercars will shift to making an SUV and hybrid cars and boost margins to over 38 percent without sacrificing exclusivity.
Its marketing chief also promised a "significant increase in average retail price".
With margins at 30 percent now, strong pricing power and an enviable customer waiting list, Camilleri inherits a business firing on all cylinders and is not expected to stray far from his predecessor's script.
Marchionne had orchestrated Ferrari's spin-off from parent Fiat Chrysler, positioned it as a luxury brand rather than a carmaker, and managed to do what few thought possible: sail through a self-imposed production cap of 7000 cars a year without sacrificing pricing power or its exclusive appeal.
Ferrari has clocked up years of record earnings, helped by special editions and a customisation programme.
But it could prove tough to maintain the company's high valuation as emissions rules tighten, capital spending increases and the diverging interests of investors, racing fans, owners and collectors become harder to balance.
A total of 3.6 billion euros (R62.4bn) will be spent over the period to develop new vehicles and shift towards hybrids, aiming to remain compliant with gradually tougher emissions regulations.