Ferrari is working on its first SUV, stupid name and all, needless fights and all. It’s a move automakers like Aston Martin, Lamborghini, and Bentley have gone to in recent years to make more money. The difference is that Ferrari is doing just fine without it.
Ferrari disclosed Tuesday that it made 699 million euros in net profits in 2019, or $771 million at current exchange rates, an improvement of eight percent compared to 2018. But the headlining number was its total sales of over 10,131 cars, or around 10 percent more than in 2018, when the brand shipped 9,251 vehicles.
That made 2019 the first year Ferrari has sold a number of vehicles in the five digits, and evidence for now that its strategy planning to introduce 15 new models between last year and 2022 is paying off. Ferrari shipped its first hybrid model last year, the F90 Stradale, along with four other new cars. The SUV, meanwhile, is expected sometime next year, along with some other cars that will probably be very fast and very red.
[Chief Executive Officer Louis Camilleri], a former Philip Morris International Inc. executive, is revamping Ferrari models so the company can boost average prices of vehicles. At the same time, he is tackling a long-held goal of former Chairman Sergio Marchionne, who died in 2018: transform Ferrari into a fully fledged luxury brand.
Investors like Camiller’s strategy — Ferrari’s stock has risen more than 40% since he became CEO — though analysts say he’s clearly adopting a cautious approach on earnings outlooks for one of the world’s most iconic brands.
Camilleri’s strategy, such as it is, seems to be to make Ferrari a little less exclusive, and make it more of a sustainable “brand,” as opposed to the principles it was founded on, which was as a hobbyhorse to fund Enzo Ferrari’s racing ambitions, and then later an excuse to get rid of extra Fiat wiper stalks that were otherwise lying around.
In Asia, in particular, this new “make more cars that people want to buy” plan seems to be paying off:
Sales in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan jumped 20% in 2019. Matching that growth this year may be difficult because of the economic impact of the deadly coronavirus.
The insatiable appetite of the global rich has already made us see similar vast upticks in production for many of Ferrari’s contemporaries. Bentleys aren’t things you only see once or twice a year at weddings; they’re like Camrys in Los Angeles now. Lamborghinis aren’t just spotted when you find yourself in Miami Beach; they fill every YouTuber’s garage.
Bugatti, in an extreme case, exists.
More Ferraris everywhere isn’t a bad thing, unless you are a Ferrari owner and worried about your car’s value or some such. In that case, I’m guessing that that question has always been mostly academic.