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Ferrari has a lot riding on its much anticipated and hotly debated SUV, called the Purosangue, to be unveiled later this year.
Ferrari CEO Benedetto Vigna said the new SUV is “astonishing to drive.”
“I’ve driven it several times in the hills of Maranello,” Vigna told analysts and reporters on an earnings call Wednesday. He’s been test-driving the top-secret vehicle near the company’s Maranello factory. “And I can testify that the driving experience is really astonishing.”
The famed supercar maker has been late to the high-performance SUV market, following Porsche’s 2002 launch of the Cayenne and Lamborghini’s successful launch of the Urus in 2017. Aston Martin launched the DBX SUV in 2020 and this week unveiled the DBX707, a 697-horsepower SUV developed on Formula 1 tracks.
Only a few spy photos of disguised Purosangues have emerged online and the details of the powertrain, price and performance remain a mystery. Ferrari purists oppose any effort to put the Prancing Horse logo on an SUV or crossover, saying it will dilute the brand and the company’s racing tradition. To expand its market and please its current sports-car base, Ferrari will have to launch an SUV that looks and feels like a Ferrari but have the added weight, features and size of a family tourer.
“The Purosangue will exceed our customer expectations,” Vigna said.
Like most ultra-luxury car-makers, Ferrari had a strong fourth quarter and 2021, boosted by the massive wealth creation during the pandemic and soaring values of stocks, crypto and other assets. Ferrari delivered a record 11,155 cars last year, up 22% from last year, and said its order book is “the strongest ever,” stretching into 2023. Revenue increased 10% in the quarter to euros 1.172 billion and EBITDA grew 7% to 398 million euros.
Despite higher costs for aluminum and other materials, the company’s higher prices and more expensive models helped boost Ferrari’s profit margins for 2021 to 35.9% — more akin to luxury-brand margins than car-makers.
All regions of the world saw double-digit sales growth, with shipments to the Americas up 22% and shipments to China, Hong Kong and Taiwan nearly doubling.
Along with the SUV, Ferrari is also gearing up for the shift to EVs. The company said it aims to be carbon neutral by 2030 and is developing a range of hybrid and electric models. It plans to release its first fully electric vehicle in 2025.
Ferrari launched the V-8 hybrid SF90 Stradale, which sells for $520,000, in 2019 and recently unveiled the 296 GTB with a plug-in V-6 powertrain. At the same time, Ferrari is satisfying its more traditional clients with its new V-12 supercar, the $2.25 million Daytona SP3.
Vigna, who joined the company in 2021 from STMicroelectronics, was also asked about Ferrari’s plans for the metaverse and NFTs, which are seen as emerging branding opportunities for luxury companies. While saying it “deserves our attention,” he declined to give specifics.
“It’s important that we look and see how new technologies can help our brand,” he said. “For sure, the digital technologies, Web 3.0 and using the blockchain and NFT’s is an area that can be interesting for us.”