It was quite inevitable that despite earlier protestations to the contrary under a former administration, Ferrari would eventually make such a car. Simply put, from the moment it placed a chunk of its shares in public ownership at the end of 2015, the car became a certainty. These IPOs, as they are called, are essentially a Faustian pact with the public, where the company gives up the right to self-determination in exchange for an ability to raise money that would never be possible in private hands. In such circumstances, long term brand building tends to take a back seat to the imperative of putting shareholder value behind the wheel. And in this business the one thing we all know is that nothing succeeds like luxury SUV-shaped success. Indeed it is the only kind of car capable of selling in both huge volumes and with no less impressive margins.
For Ferrari in 2022, it’s a similar situation to that seen at Porsche twenty years ago, where having only ever built small, light, two-door coupes and roadsters, they bet the farm on a two-tonne SUV called Cayenne, and have been cashing in ever since. But the situations are not directly comparable because the Cayenne was part of a joint venture with Volkswagen and Audi to produce three SUVs on the same platform, the Cayenne, Touareg and Q7. Ferrari, like Aston Martin did with the DBX, have had to go it alone and develop their own car, yet the demand is likely to be such that it will become the most popular Ferrari in its history and more than repay its investment costs.
How times change. It is perhaps little remembered today that half a lifetime ago, Ferrari considered very seriously creating a family car, and when I say ‘Ferrari’ I don’t just mean the company, I mean the bloke who gave his name to it too. What’s more – and you’ll spot the irony here – if he hadn’t already sold off a huge slice of the business to a bunch of outsiders called Fiat, it would probably have been made, because there’d have been no-one to stop him.