Ferrari will make a battery-electric supercar to snatch some market share and attention away from Tesla, the dominant player in the luxury electric vehicle industry, CEO Sergio Marchionne told reporters at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
The Italian race car brand’s move towards electrification signals a shift not just for the company, but for Marchionne, who also heads Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA). Marchionne also confirmed plans to bring a Ferrari SUV to market by late 2019 or 2020, Bloomberg reported. Reports of a Ferrari SUV first arose in August.
There are scant details on this impending electric Ferrari. The company will presumably want to produce an electric supercar before Tesla brings its new and improved Roadster to market in 2020.
More information on this electric Ferrari will likely come out when Marchionne unveils the company’s five-year plan, his last as CEO. Marchionne, one of the auto industry’s longest-serving CEOs, is set to retire in 2021. He’s held the top role since 2004.
The five-year plan is expected to set a higher annual deliveries target for Ferrari than its current self-imposed limit of 10,000 cars. Ferrari’s future will include hybrid cars, Marchionne told Bloomberg, “so going from there to an electric is easy.”
Marchionne’s comments—particularly those in an in-depth interview with Bloomberg ahead of the Detroit Auto Show—are in contrast with how FCA has operated in the past. The company has lagged behind other automakers scrambling to introduce electric vehicles and deploy commercial fleets of autonomous vehicles. FCA has focused more on its existing brands and partnerships, like its one with self-driving vehicle startup Waymo.
But Marchionne now believes that automakers have about 10 years to reinvent themselves to meet the changing consumer mindsets on how vehicles are purchased, driven, and powered. His impending five-year plan should address how FCA hopes to meet these new demands.