Ferrari have reportedly been kicking around the idea of a mid-engine, V6 sports car for years. Problem is, the infamously stodgy bigwigs at Ferrari are nervous that a new Dino (likely the car’s name) would dilute their storied brand. For a couple reasons, this is patently absurd.
First of all, a cheaper car would hardly be the first thing to lessen the prestige of a Ferrari. They’ve spent decades making cheap hats, keyrings and branded laptops, whacking a Ferrari decal on them and marking them up several hundred percent. Rolls-Royce doesn’t even do that, and they’re the most image- and prestige-obsessed car company of them all. Secondly, Ferrari is under the impression that a mid-engine, low-slung, bright red sports car (albeit one that’s slightly cheaper and slower) will tarnish their brand, but a high-riding crossover – sorry, Ferrari Utility Vehicle – won’t? This isn’t even the first time they’ve built a cheaper car, aside from the California; they sorta had this idea when the first Dino came out, and Enzo himself signed off on it. It was every inch a real Ferrari, it just lacked two cylinders.
Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne’s primary worry is not that the brand needs to have a cheaper car, it’s that there are many “phenomenally young” buyers who can still afford a Ferrari but aren’t buying them. “We need to explore ways to attract customers to traditional values of the brand such as style, performance, and engine sound before downgrading the entry level price for the brand,” he was quoted.
A cheaper sports car could actually be just what Ferrari needs. The Gallardo was to Lamborghini what the Dino could be to Ferrari, and ended up constituting half of all Lamborghinis sold, ever. And it’s not like it was a watered-down grocery-getter either. It still retained all the hallmarks of the Lamborghini brand – shouty styling, shouty engine, gated manual gearbox. It was a sales smash without betraying the company’s core values.
Ferrari is obviously not building a crossover because they want to, but because they need to shift units; why not try it first with a car that’ll keep the purists happy and attract younger buyers, without appealing to every hedge fund soccer mom in Beverly Hills?