Search The Virtual Driver
Tagged for Your Convenience
#PinkBeetle 1940 Ford Coupe 1961 F1 season 2003 Mustang Cobra book 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 2012 Ford Explorer 2012 Jeep Wrangler 2012 Toyota Camry 2012 VW Beetle 2012 VW Passat 2013 Chevys 2013 Ford Explorer 2013 Ford Focus Electric 2013 Ford Fusion review 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2013 Hyundai Sonata SE 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo 2013 Infiniti JX AWD 2013 Lexus ES 350 2013 Lexus GS 2013 Mercedes GLK350 2013 NAIAS 2013 Nissan Altima 2014 Audi R18 e-tron quattro 2014 Detroit Auto Show 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee 2014 Kia Forte 2014 Kia Soul road test 2014 Lexus IS 2014 Mazda CX-5 crossover 2014 Mazda3 2014 Mercedes S-Class 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage 2014 NAIAS 2014 Toyota Corolla 2014 Toyota Corolla S 2014 Toyota Highlander 2015 Camaro 2015 Chevy Trax 2015 Chrysler 200 2015 Detroit auto show 2015 Ford F-150 2015 Ford Mustang 2015 Hyundai Sonata 2015 Kia Sorento SX 2015 Lincoln Navigator 2015 Mini Cooper 2015 Mustang 2015 Nissan Murano 2015 Porsche Cayenne 2015 Toyota Camry 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans 2016 Audi TT 2016 Chevy Camaro 2016 Chevy Volt 2016 Ford Explorer Platinum 2016 Honda Accord 2016 Honda Civic 2016 Hyundai Tucson 2016 Lexus RX 2016 NAIAS 2016 New York Auto Show 2016 Nissan Maxima 2016 North American International Auto Show 2016 Toyota Prius 2016 Toyota Prius unveiling 2016 Toyota RAV4 2016 Toyota Tacoma 2016 VW Golf SportWagen 2017 Acura NSX 2017 BMW 2 Series 2017 C-Class Coupe 2017 Chevy Camaro pricing 2017 Ford GT 2017 Ford Raptor 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show 2017 Golf SportWgen 4Motion 2017 Honda Ridgeline 2017 Mazda3 2017 Nissan Titan 2017 Subaru Impreza 2018 Buick Regal 2018 Corvette ZR-1 2018 Ford Expedition 2018 Ford Fiesta 2018 Ford Mustang 2018 Jeep Wrangler 2018 Toyota Avalon Hybrid 2018 Toyota Camry 2018 VW Golf 2019 Chevy Camaro 2019 Ford Focus 2019 Ford Ranger 2019 Honda Insight 2019 Jeep Cherokee 2019 Lexus ES 2019 Lincoln MKC 2019 VW Jetta 2019 VW Jetta pricing 289 Cobra Achates Power Acorus Technology Acura NSX Acura NSX aerodynamics Acura RLX adaptive cruise control AEV affordable carbon fiber AIE rotary engine airbag technology Al Vinikour Alan Mulally Alfa Romeo Alfa Romeo 4C Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 SS Alfa Romeo Giulia Alfa Romeo Stelvio ALMS alternative powertrains American F1 teams AMG SLS E-Cell AM-RB 001 AP Racing Radi-CAL Apple Car ArmorAll Arnolt Bristol AROnline Artificial Intelligence Aston Martin Aston Martin condos Aston Martin DB11 Aston Martin DB11 Volante Aston Martin V12 Vanquish Aston Martin Valkyrie Aston Martin Vanquish S Aston Martin Vantage Aston Martin Vulcan Aston Martin yacht Aston-Martin Atlanta Motorsport Park Audi Audi A3 Audi A5 Audi A5 Sportback Audi A8 Hybrid Audi bicycle Audi Q7 Audi Q7 TDI Audi R18 Audi R18 e-tron quattro Audi R8 Audi S8 Audi SQ7 Audi TT RS Austin Healey 100M Austin Powers Autocade automotive fuel cells automotive porn automotive safety systems autonomous cars autonomous driving autonomous vehicles Autorama Avocet Avro Vulcan barn find Beetle barn find Jaguar barn finds Barrett Jackson Battle of Britain Beatrice F1 Bell Pro Star Ben Bowlby Bentley Mulsanne Beverly Rae Kimes Big Bang Theory Bjorn Lomborg BMW BMW 2 Series Active Tourer BMW 3 Series BMW 6 Series GT BMW 7 Series Hybrid BMW i3 BMW i8 BMW i8 luggage BMW M2 BMW M3 CS BMW M4 video BMW M4 vs. Lexus RC-F BMW motorcycles BMW X4 BMW1 Series Bob Lutz BorgWarner Brabham BT62 Breitling watches Brembo British Motor Heritage BRM Brose e-bike Brush Hero Bryce Hoffman Buick Regal GS Buick Verano Cadillac ATS Cadillac CT6 Cadillac CTS Cadillac CTS-V Cadillac CUE Cadillac DPI-V.R Cadillac Escalade Cadillac Racing Cadillac V16 Cadillac XT5 Cadillac XTS CAFE standards Camaro 2016 Camaro Z28 Camaro ZL1 Camping World Truck Series Car Spy book carbon fiber chassis Carroll Shelby Cars in Context Television Cars in Context TV CART Caterham Caterham Seven Center for Automotive Research CES Chapparal 2X VGT comncept Chevy Bolt Chevy Colorado ZR2 Chevy crate motor Chevy Cruze diesel Chevy Sonic Chevy Trax Chevy Volt Chicago Auto Show China Auto 2012 Chip Foose Chris Craft Chris Wallace Chrysler Chrysler Hemi Chrysler Imperial Chrysler Pacifica Clarion C-Max Hybrid CNG Cobra Jet Mustang Cobra watch Continental Tire Controlled Power Technologies Cord 812 cork surfboard Corvette C7 Corvette C8 Corvette Racing Corvette sinkhole Craftsman CTX tractors Cragar wheels crossovers Cunningham C3 Dainese Dale Jr Dallara GP2 hillclimb Dan Gurney Dan Wheldon De Lorean Dendrobium EV Denise McCluggage Derek Warwick Detroit Auto Show Detroit Electric diesel engine Dieselgate Dodge Dodge Avenger Dodge Challenger Dodge Dart GT Dodge Demon Dodge Durango SRT domestic energy Donald Trump donuts drag racing Dragon software DRB-Hicom Dream Cruise Drift mode driver alert Ducati Ducati 1926 Ducati 899 Panigale Ducati Desmosedici V4 Ducati Monster Ducati Museum Ducati safety system Ducati Scrambler Ducati Testastretta Eagle GB Eagle Indy cars Eagle Speedster Eddie Rickenbacker Edsel Ford electric bike electric vehicle demand electric vehicle recharging electric vehicles Electrocet Elemental Rp1 EPA EV future Evanta Exomotive F-150 SuperCrew federal bureaucracy Federal-Mogul Ferdinand Piech Ferrari Ferrari 330 P4 Ferrari 488 GTB Ferrari dog kennels Ferrari expo Ferrari F1 Ferrari F12 Ferrari F12tdf Ferrari GTO FerrariGTC4Lusso FEV Fiat 124 Abarth Fiat 500 Abarth Fiat 500 furniture Fiat 500X Fiat Chrysler business plan Fiat S76 Fiat-Chrysler Fod Kuka robot Ford Ford at Le Mans Ford BoxLink Ford Bronco Ford cars Ford e-bikes Ford EcoSport Ford Edge Ford Explorer Sport Ford F-150 EcoBoost Ford F-150 Tremor Ford F-350 Ford Fiesta ST Ford Focus RS reveal Ford Focus ST Ford Fusion Ford GT Ford GT book review Ford GT Mk. III Ford GT Mk. IV Ford GT40 Ford Ka+ Ford Mustang Ford Mustang GT Ford Mustang GT350 Ford S-Max Ford Transit Ford Transit Connect Ford Transit Connect Titanium Ford U.K. Design Formula One Formula One rules Forza Motorsport Fox News Sunday Fq hybrid braking Frankfurt Motor Show FR-S vs Miata Geely Genesis G70 Geneva Motor Show Global RallyCross GM GM Electrovan GM engines GM recalls GMC Canyon Denali Goodwood Festival of Speed Google car graphene ground effects Group Lotus Haddords Caterhan Seven HANS device Harley-Davidson Harley-Davidson Breakout Harley-Davidson LiveWire Harley-Davidson Seventy-Two Harley-Davidson SuperLow Harley-Davidson Switchback Haynes Owners' Workshop Manual healthcare Henry Ford high-performance hybrid Honda ATVs Honda Clarity FCV Honda CVCC Honda endurance engine Honda motorcycles Honda NSX Honda Pilot Honda RA272 Honda RC213V-S HondaJet hot hatch Husqvarna hybrids Hyundai Hyundai Accent Hyundai designers Hyundai Elantra Hyundai Elantra GT Hyundai Elantra Limited Hyundai Elantra Sport Hyundai Genesis Hyundai Genesis Coupe Hyundai Kona Hyundai Motorstudio Hyundai Veloster Hyundai Vision G Coupe Indianapolis Motor Speedway Indy 500 IndyCar Infiniti Infiniti Q50 Infiniti QX56 Infiniti VC-T inflatable child seat Intermeccanica internal combustion engines iPhone 6 J.D. Power and Associates Jabuar Jaguar Jaguar C-X16 Jaguar E-Pace Jaguar E-Type Jaguar E-Type Lightweight Jaguar F-Type Jaguar I-Pace Jaguar luggage Jaguar XE Jaguar XJL Jaguar XKSS Jaguar XKSS continuation Jeep Cherokee Jeep concepts Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Jeep Renegade Jeep Renegade Latitude Jeep Wrangler Jensen GT Jeremy Clarkson jet prropulsion Jim Clark Jim Farley John Bereisa John Krafcik Juan Manuel Fangio Kia Forte Koup SX Kia Optima Kia Rio Kia Sorento Kia Soul Kia Stinger Kia Stonic L.A. Auto Show LaFerrari convertible Lamborghini Lamborghini EV concept Lamborghini speakers Lamborghini Urus Lancia Delta Integrale Land Rover LR2 Land Rover pedal car Las Vegas Le Mans lead-acid batteries LED headlights Lego Technic book Lexus ES350 Lexus GS350 F Sport Lexus hoverboard Lexus LC Lexus LS Lexus LS concept Lexus LS460 LExus LX 570 Lexus NX 200t F Sport Lexus RC 350 Lexus RC F Lexus RX 450h Lexus UX Ligier LMP3 prototype Lincoln Aviator Lincoln MKC Lincoln MKX Lincoln MKZ Lincoln Motor Company Lincoln Nautilus Lincoln Navigator L Lincoln's future Lingenfelter LiquidPiston Lister Knobbly Lister Stirling Moss edition Lola LMP1 Lotus Lotus Elite Type 14 Lotus Engineering Inc. Lotus Evora Lotus Evora 400 Lotus Evora Sport 410 Lotus Exige Sport 350 Lotus SUV LotusXI Luca Montezemolo Lucire Lyonheart K M1 Concourse Mach 1 magnesium wheels manual transmission marble Ducati Mark Fields Martin Winterkorn Maserati Levante Maserati Quattroporte Maserati Tipo 250F replica matte-finish film Matthew McConaughey Max Hoffman Maxion Flexible Wheel Mazda Mazda chair Mazda CX-9 Mazda Miata Mazda Miata RF Mazda Miata versus Ford Fiesta ST Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Mazda2 Mazda6 MazdaPro series McLaren McLaren 570GT McLaren 675LT McLaren 720S McLaren F1 McLaren MP4-12C Spider McLaren P1 McLaren P1 interior McLaren-Honda F1 Mercedes Mercedes 300 SL Mercedes 4Matic Mercedes CLA Mercedes comic book Mercedes diesel pistons Mercedes EQ Mercedes GL Mercedes GLA Mercedes GLE Coupe Mercedes pickup trucks Mercedes van Mercedes-AMG Mercedes-AMG GT Mercedes-AMG GT Coupe Mercedes-AMG-GT Concept Mercedes-Benz 300SLR recreation Mercedes-Benz E-Class Mercedes-Benz furniture metal matrix composite brakes Mewrcedes-Benz X-Class MG wrist watch Michael Horn Michael Schumacher Michelin Mike Hawthorn Mini Mini Clubman Mini Clubman ALL4 Mini Cooper S 4-door Mini Countryman Mini Coupe Mini hybrid Mini Mk 1 body shells Mini rally car Mini Roadster Mini Vision Mitsubishi Monterey Mopar Mopar shaker hood Morgan Aero GT Morgan EV3 Motul multi-modal transportation Muntz Jet muscle cars Mustang hybrid Mustang tuning kits MyFord Touch NAIAS NAIAS 2017 NAIAS 2018 nanoslide coating NASA Mustang NASCAR NASCAR heating scandal NASCAR rules new Prius New Shelby GT350 New York Auto Show Niki Lauda Nissan Altima Nissan BladeGlider Nissan Kicks Nissan Leaf Nissan Pathfinder Nissan Rogue Nissan Skyline history Nissan Smart mirror Nissan titan Single Cab Nissan Versa Note Nissan-Renault Alliance Nnissan Quest NSU R0 80 Nurburgring Nurburgring Nordschleife Oliver Winterbottom OnStar FMV Opel GT Packard Grey Ghost Pagani Huayra Roadster Page Not Found Alerts Pebble Beach Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance Penske Racing Peter Dron Peter Wright Peugeot 108 Phil Hill Pikes Peak Pininfarina Pininfarina Coke machine Pirelli Pocket Classics police chases Pope Benedict XVI Porsche 911 Porsche 911 RSR Porsche 911 Turbo Porsche 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series Porsche 917 Porsche 918 Spyder Porsche 919 steering wheel Porsche 988 Porsche Carrera GT Porsche Cars North America Porsche Cayman Porsche P1 EV Porsche Panamera Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo powertrain technology Prius c Prius v Proton PSA Group Quixx racing Ram Ram 1500 Ram ProMaster Ram Promaster City Range Rover RAV4 Hybrid rebuildable batteries Renault Alpine Renault Alpine A110 Renault F1 engine Renault F1 promotion Renault Talisman Renault Twingo restomod Ricardo Engineering Rnage Rover Evoque Convertible road repair funds Rod Tempero Roger Penske Rolls Royce Bespoke Rolls Royce SUV Rolls-Royce Cullinan Rolls-Royce Phantom Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Ross Brawn Rush movie S650 Mustang Saab safety technology Saleen S7 Sammy Hagar Santa SBU V3 Scion FR-S Scion iA and iM Scuderia Ferrari self-healing tires SEMA Shelby Cobra Sir Malcolm Campbell Siri smart Solid Oxide Fuel Cells spare tires Speed Speed Duel Speed Read Car Design split-window Corvette sport sedans Sportster St. Christopher Sta-Bil 360 Performance Sta-Bil Storage Star Wars Steven Tyler Stoner Car Care Kit Stoner Clean & Repel Subaru BRZ Subaru Forester Subaru Impreza Suzuki GSX-R1000 Suzuki SX4 Swiss Army knife SYNC 3 tailgating Taurus SHO Team Lotus TechShop Tesla Tesla Model 3 The Aresenal of Democracy The Mitty The Virtual Collection Tim Richmond Tokyo Motor Show Tom Brady torque vectoring touchpad technology Tour de France Toyota Toyota 4Runner Toyota Camry Toyota hybrids Toyota iRoad Toyota Land Speed Cruiser Toyota Prius c Toyota Sienna Premium Toyota Tacoma Toyota Tundra Toyota Venza Toyota VenzaMcLaren MP4-12C Tracks novel Triumph Speed Triple Triumph TR8 TRW TRW touchpad Tucker 48 Turbulent Jet Ignition TVR U.S. Air Force Museum UAW Udvar-Hazy Center Ulysses S. Grant unionization Uniroyal tires vaporware vehicle restoration Vehreo fabric Visteon Volkswagen Volvo Volvo 40 series concepts Volvo Drive-E Volvo S60 R-Design Volvo XC40 Volvo XC90 VW VW Arteon VW Atlas VW Beetle Convertible VW Beetle Dune VW Beetle TDI VW Golf VW Golf R VW Golf SportWagen VW GTI VW I.D. VW Jetta GLI VW Jetta Hybrid VW MQB VW Passat TDI VW scandal VW Touareg TDI VW troubles Weego William G. Sawyer winter driving Wirth Research women drivers wooden boats Xcar video XPEL Yamaha Yamaha anime Yamaha sports car Zenos E10 ZF TRW
« Creating a Car Company From Scratch | Main | A Recipe for Disaster »
Friday
Sep122014

What’s Next for Ferrari?

By Christopher A. Sawyer

Luca Montezemolo in happier times.After 23 years at the helm, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo has left Ferrari; left as in pushed out the door. For Montezemolo it was an ironic end to a career that began with the wunderkind modernizing the Ferrari F1 team for Enzo Ferrari and leading it to success after years of failure, and ended with him lobbying for a return to rules more favorable to Maranello, as he steered Ferrari’s car division to record profits. He jealously guarded the Prancing Horse’s image and position, but was blind to the needs of the rest of the organization as it seeks Ferrari’s help to extricate itself from a huge pile of debt. 

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is about to embark on an IPO that will see its shares listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Despite having the U.S. government essentially give Chrysler to Fiat for nothing, FCA has debts of nearly $3 billion and a number of stagnant brands. It needs the IPO to be a success if it is to raise the money necessary to right this ship, though it will also have to consider eliminating some brands to streamline the organization. Floating a large minority stake in Ferrari on the NYSE should help raise at least $1.0 billion dollars, and put a significant dent in FCA’s debt. However, it can’t do that if the face of Ferrari, it’s F1 team, is struggling to finish outside of the podium positions week after week. 

Montezemolo’s intransigence undoubtedly angered FCA chairman Sergio Marchionne, who once reported to the former Ferrari chairman. Rather than clean house and restructure the racing organization, Montezemolo stood by and watched as the team’s performance slipped year after year. Fernando Alonso, who probably expected to drive a Ferrari to a third Driver’s World Championship, watched as his chances at another title dwindled. Even the switch to new hybrid powertrains, which should have put all the engine suppliers on a more even footing, did nothing to help the Italian team’s prospects. As the situation became more dire, Montezemolo did the unimaginative, he tried to hire Adrian Newey away from the all-conquering Red Bull team, a move that was as pathetic as it was useless. Newey, who has stated on more than one occasion that he is unwilling to relocate outside of Britain, brushed off the suggestion, and announced that he would be moving to an oversight position with the F1 team in order to take on challenges in other areas of interest. The current Formula One — essentially a spec. series with overly sensitive aerodynamics that have nothing in common with road cars, and powered by artificially strangled engines — leaves him unfulfilled. He is bored with the petty politics and constant sniping, two things that would have been in great abundance had he moved to Maranello. 

Earlier this year Montezemolo brought the head of Ferrari North American (FNA) to Italy to replace team manager Stefano Domenicali, and put the Prancing Horse back on track. Marco Mattiacci, so the story goes, was more than happy to take the reins and help Ferrari recapture its luster, despite the fact that he has no previous experience in racing or Formula 1. It is much more likely, however, that Montezemolo was told by Marchionne to bring Mattiacci onboard, and the Ferrari chairman undoubtedly saw this as a harbinger of things to come. Not only would Mattiacci report back to Marchionne everything he saw and heard while running the race team, he would gain experience at Ferrari headquarters before assuming the CEO role. It’s not coincidence that saw Montezemolo start suggesting that he could leave Ferrari for greener pastures as the new chairman of the Italian airline, Alitalia. He knew his days were numbered. 

The flip side of this coin is that something had to be done, and now, to resurrect Ferrari’s racing fortunes. Design work is already in progress on the 2015 cars, and every moment of delay makes the chance for a turnaround that much more difficult. But racing is just part of this Italian soap opera. Ferrari can no longer sit on the sidelines separate from the rest of the organization that owns it. It must contribute more than just profits. Unfortunately for Ferrari, Marchionne’s latest plans for FCA are not that different from his previous plan, and no more realistic in terms of sales and market share. He will be tempted to increase profitability by increasing Ferrari’s production volume from its artificially constrained 7,000 vehicles per year. This would be done by adding models and sharing vehicles between Alfa Romeo, Ferrari and Maserati. 

If this happens, I believe we could see a Ferrari SUV designed to take on Bentley’s upcoming sport utility, as well as the planned competition from Rolls Royce and Range Rover. Porsche paved the way with its Cayenne, and Marchionne and Mattiacci may use this excuse, and the fact that a Ferrari SUV would compete in a market well above its German rival, to push the brand off road. Such a move also would reduce the risks associated with the Maserati Levante SUV that once was slated to be built off the platform the of Jeep Grand Cherokee, but is now to be built on a bespoke platform. 

The next step would be to use Maserati’s sedan platforms to build four-door Ferraris. Up until now, only show cars (e.g. the Ferrari Pinin) and vehicles built exclusively for the über rich (like the Sultan of Brunei) have had a multiplicity of doors. Ferrari never offered and, it claimed, never would sell, a four-door sedan. That could change. Porsche has the Panamera, Mercedes and BMW are looking at ultra-expensive sedans, why not Ferrari? 

Rather than dilute the brand with short-term cash grabs like an SUV or sedan, Marchionne and Mattiacci should use Ferrari as an incubator for new ideas, and an engineering resource for new powertrains, materials and electronic systems. This “Skunk Works” model would use its road car and racing experience to improve the breed, but should never be allowed to deteriorate to the point where the Dodge Dart SRT wears a certain shade of red paint and “engineered by Ferrari” badging. That would destroy the brand almost overnight. 

It is, however, tough to say just what Marchionne might do to shore up FCA’s short-term future. The current car sales climate has subvented leases and low-interest rate loans pulling in the very buyers who defaulted the last time around, and this is putting pressure on car companies to discount their prices in order to stabilize their marketshare. Except for Ferrari, Jeep is the most successful and profitable division in the FCA portfolio, and Chrysler begun running ads in the Metro Detroit area offering leases for the new Chrysler 200 for as low as $110 per month. Accounting for inflation this is less than the $99 leases Ford used to offer on the Ranger in the mid 1990s. That’s insane. 

If that’s not enough, the Fiat brand is stalled, selling multiple versions of the 500, and Alfa Romeo has been delayed more times than an airplane on a storm-filled night. The 4C sports car is an expensive halo car for a division with no new product and no presence in North America. If that’s not enough, Lancia still exists, and continues to suck money out of the company with little to no return on investment. It should be eliminated as soon as possible, despite the noisy protestations of the Italian government and trade unions to the contrary. Even Dodge’s future should be up for review, although Fiat is the sicker brand. Unfortunately, the short term needs of FCA may well overrule the long-term health of Ferrari.

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>