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Ferrari eyes utility vehicle market

Luxury sports carmaker Ferrari has said it may build a crossover utility vehicle, calling the SUV market "too big and too inviting" to ignore. It promised the brand's exclusivity would not be compromised.

Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne had repeatedly ruled out following rivals such as Volkswagen-owned Lamborghini or Porsche into the sports utility segment. But on Wednesday he told analysts that his company would look to build a crossover utility vehicle that would be different from what competitors had to offer.

"It will be of the same caliber as anything else we've done," Marchionne said, adding that the SUV market was too big and too inviting to ignore.

"And I think we have a lot of customers, who will be more than willing to drive a Ferrari-branded vehicle that has this kind of utilitarian objective."

Marchionne pledged such a utility vehicle would be unique and not compromise the brand's exclusivity.

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After being spun off from Fiat-Chrysler, Ferrari has sought to show it can increase earnings without the backing of its parent and lift sales.

The company has in fact released several quarters of record profits, helped by the launch of a number of special-edition models.

Ferrari this year plans to ship around 8,400 vehicles, getting closer to the 9,000-unit goal it has set for 2019.

Marchionne said the company was approaching the limit of the number of cars it could produce from its current range and needed to look beyond. He insisted that if the carmaker ever made a utility vehicle, it would be "Ferrari-style" for a "selected few" and not compete with the likes of Porsche.

hg/jd (Reuters, AP)

 

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