With the tragic passing of Sergio Marchionne, Fiat Chrysler’s CEO recently, Louis Camilleri, the former Phillip Morris Tobacco chairman, was appointed head of the company in a scramble to maintain brand dominance and automotive influence. During Sergio’s tenure as CEO, he increased the value of Ferrari as a global brand with aggressive merchandising and production of new and unique models to keep the brand’s cache as an ultra luxury sports car company.
Ferrari of the last 15 years has changed from a pure racing focused company which happens to makes road cars to more of a global brand that is universally recognizable. Ferrari has expanded to merchandise and license their name to clothing giant PUMA, cycling manufacturer Colnago, and various video game manufacturers appearing in games like Gran Turismo and GTA. There is even a Ferrari World Amusement Park in Dubai. For car purists, some will argue that this was a watering down of the brand and a refocusing of company priorities. Gone are the days of Ferrari offering only manual transmissions and their complete dominance in the arena of F1 motorsports. As traditional Ferrari owners and collectors have aged, the company has gained a foothold in the 21st century by leveraging their established name and racing roots to stay relevant among younger owners and the tech millionaires who are their primary consumer of sports cars. This however is not a bad thing. Everyone knows about Ferrari now.
The company’s coffers have expanded with the recognition of their name as Sergio took the company to new and unprecedented levels of success. Marchionne’s untimely recent passing has left the company reeling and uncertain for the future: a future that will see Ferrari expanding into electric cars and the development of an SUV. While Louis Camilleri was personal friends with Sergio (both pictured below) and is an avid Ferrari collector, the risk of mistakes is high in a shifting market with consumers who expect more tech than ever in automobiles. We suppose it was only a matter of time that Ferrari joins the SUV segment. With Lamborghini following on the path blazed by Porsche, the Ferrari SUV is a likely win for the company.
It will be interesting to see how Camilleri will navigate the uncertain waters ahead. Ferrari has been shifting into becoming more of a global brand name company and moving away from the purist racing company it once was in recent years. Will Camilleri cross breed the pedigree of the prancing horse or will the company continue to produce cars that thrill racing fans and 12 year olds alike?
Check out Throttle.TV for more up to the minute automotive news and videos.