Ferrari has a lot riding on its much-anticipated and hotly debated SUV, called the Purosangue, to be unveiled later this year.
Ferrari CEO Benedetto Vigna, who has been test-driving the top secret new car, said the Purosangue is “astonishing.”
“I’ve driven it several times in the hills of Maranello,” Vigna told analysts and reporters on an earnings call Wednesday. “And I can testify that the driving experience is really astonishing.”
The famed Italian carmaker has been late to the high-performance SUV market, following Porsche’s 2002 launch of the Cayenne and Lamborghini’s successful launch of the Urus in 2017. Aston Martin launched the DBX SUV in 2020 and this week unveiled the DBX707, a 697-horsepower SUV developed on Formula One tracks.
Only a few spy photos of disguised Purosangues have emerged online and the details of the powertrain, price and performance remain a mystery.
Ferrari purists oppose any effort to put the “prancing horse” logo on an SUV or crossover, saying it will dilute the brand and the company’s racing tradition. To expand its market and please its current sports car base, industry watchers say the company will have to launch an SUV that looks and feels like a Ferrari but have the added weight, features and size of a family touring car.
“The Purosangue will exceed our customer expectations,” Vigna said on the call.
Like most ultra-luxury carmakers, Ferrari had a strong fourth quarter and 2021, boosted by the massive wealth creation during the pandemic and soaring values of stocks, crypto and other assets. Ferrari delivered a record 11,155 cars last year, up 22% from 2020, and said its order book is “the strongest ever,” stretching into 2023. Revenue increased 10% in the quarter to 1.172 billion euros ($1.32 billion) and Ebitda rose 7% to 398 million euros ($450 million).
Despite higher costs for aluminum and other materials, the company’s higher prices and more expensive models helped boost Ferrari’s profit margins for 2021 to 35.9%, which is more akin to luxury-brand margins than carmakers’ results.
All parts of the world saw double-digit sales growth, with shipments to the Americas region up 22% and shipments to China, Hong Kong and Taiwan nearly doubling.
Along with the SUV, Ferrari is also gearing up for the shift to electric vehicles. The automaker said it aims to be carbon neutral by 2030 and is developing a range of hybrid and electric models. Its first fully electric vehicle is due for release in 2025.
Ferrari launched the V-8 hybrid SF90 Stradale, which sells for $520,000, in 2019, and recently unveiled the 296 GTB with a plug-in V-6 powertrain. Meanwhile, the company touts its new V-12 supercar, the $2.25 million Daytona SP3, for its more traditional clients.
Vigna, who joined the automaker last year from STMicroelectronics, was also asked during the call about Ferrari’s plans for the metaverse and non-fungible tokens, which are viewed as branding opportunities for luxury companies. He said it “deserves our attention,” but didn’t offer any specific details.
“It’s important that we look and see how new technologies can help our brand,” he said. “For sure, the digital technologies, Web 3.0 and using the blockchain and NFTs is an area that can be interesting for us.”