A truism of the automotive world is that there will always be overconfident upstarts who think they have a shot at taking down the entrenched heavyweights. These upstarts usually include executives who used to work at said heavyweights and Silk-FAW, a U.S.-China-Italy startup that is making a supercar called the S9, is no different.
The car was designed by Walter de Silva, who used to design cars at Volkswagen Group. Former Ferrari executives work at the company, and so do former Lamborghini executives. The S9 will have a V8 making 880 horsepower and electric motors making around 620 horsepower more. There are more cars planned, to be built in China, including an SUV, a convertible, and a coupe, but those will be all electric.
It all starts with the S9, though, which Automotive News said Wednesday will be fully unveiled in September at Milan Design Week, because auto shows are basically meaningless these days. The S9 will cost €1.5 million, or a little under $1.8 million. This is a very direct shot at Ferrari and Lamborghini.
The S9 will be built at the joint venture’s new factory in Italy’s so-called “Motor Valley” in Reggio Emilia. The plant will be 27 miles northwest of Maranello, where Ferrari is based and 32 miles west of Lamborghini’s headquarters in Sant’Agata Bolognese. The Maserati luxury brand and motorcycle maker Ducati also have operations in the area.
Silk-FAW is investing an initial 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) to develop the S9 and S7, as well as to build a production facility and r&d center in Reggio Emilia.
Construction work is expected to begin by the end of the year. The complex will also include a small test track.
It is hard to know what to make of car startups even in the best of times, as the vast majority of them fail. And that is true even of the ones who aren’t going after Ferrari and Lamborghini, because in the auto world you come at the kings and it’s just fine if you miss. Most do. Meanwhile, Ferrari, Lamborghini, the Germans, et al., just seem to soldier on.