Marchionne took the reigns at Ferrari from Luca di Montezemolo last autumn in circumstances that seemed anything other than a friendly handover.
It didn’t take too many lines to be read between to work out that Marchionne and di Montezemolo had very different ideas for the future of Ferrari.
Rumours of saloon cars and SUVs being added to the Ferrari range were quickly shot down by Marchionne, despite di Montezemolo’s attempts to stir things up.
“Marchionne wanted to build a truck but I talked him out of it…” was di Montezemolo’s retort to a question in his outgoing press conference at the Paris motor show.
But since then, it has emerged that maybe the two men were more aligned than they thought, on the road car side at least. Whispers on Ferrari saloons and SUVs have now stopped. Indeed, Marchionne’s comments at the Geneva motor show about his disappointment of the Ferrari F1 team’s unacceptable performance and his desire to fix it perhaps hint at the real reasons for di Montezemolo’s departure.
And so to the Dino. The idea of a cheaper, entry-level Ferrari was one always dismissed by di Montezemolo, who valued the exclusivity and limiting volumes of the Ferrari brand above anything else. Marchionne agrees. But his definition of the Dino would appear different from di Montezemolo; he sees the Dino as a chance to make another purebred Ferrari sports car, one that’s anything but cheap or entry-level.
Marchionne is a man who can give the impression of shooting from the hip, but his comments on the Dino to Autocar at the recent 488 GTB launch was not one of those occasions. The Dino is coming.
The intrigue comes from how it will fit in with current production volumes and the present range. Ferrari has said that if anything it wants to make fewer cars, to control supply and increase margins. But there has been a concession from Marchionne that volumes could go from 7000 units at present to up to 10,000 units should there be enough wealthy people in the world willing to buy one, so as not to choke supply.
So will Ferrari make fewer examples of its existing models to make room for the Dino in its range at present 7000 volumes? Will one of the cars disappear from the range altogether? Or will Marchionne make the jump to 10,000 units?
The significance of CO2 legislation should not be overlooked, particularly in reference to that last question. Partially floated on the New York Stock Exchange and split from the wider Fiat Chrysler Automobiles group, Ferrari now has to go it alone on reducing its fleet CO2 average.
A smaller, lighter, turbo V6-powered sports car is a good way to go about this, rather than a larger V12-powered saloon or SUV.