Speaking ahead of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne has shared his thoughts on the motor industries future, that electric will play a large part whilst also discussing the imminent Ferrari SUV.
Marchionne has a warning for the Motor industry, saying that carmakers have less than a decade to reinvent themselves or risk being commoditized amid a seismic shift in how vehicles are powered, driven and purchased. “Auto companies need to quickly separate the stuff that will be swallowed by commodity from the brand stuff,” Marchionne said.
Speaking in the interview, Sergio Marchionne hinted the likelihood that combustion will continue to represent the large portion of the power unit world is very small. Automation will become widely spread. Certainly up to Level 4, going on to say that by 2025 more than half of the power units on the road will have some relevance of electrification. There may be a base combustion engine, but it is combustion and electrification that will make the machine run. Electrification will happen not necessarily as full battery‑electric vehicles but in combination with other forms of power. It’s going to be a very interesting time.
The President of Ferrari was also asked about the ‘rumoured but inevitable’ Ferrari SUV, “It will look like whatever a Ferrari utility vehicle needs to look like”, but insisted “it has to drive like a Ferrari.”
Marchionne confirmed that it is “dead serious” about producing a Ferrari SUV, referring to the vehicle as the ‘FUV’ (Ferrari Utility Vehicle), having previously played down the rumours of a Ferrari crossover, but then said Ferrari would take about 30 months to consider production of the vehicle. He said: “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.”
We could get our first official details of the brand’s long term plan sometime in 2018. Should Ferrari decide to go down the SUV avenue, it will be among the final acts of Marchionne, who will step down as boss of the Fiat Chrysler Group in 2019, followed by bowing out of Ferrari in 2021.