News: How do You Think Montezemolo's Departure Will Affect Ferrari?

How do You Think Montezemolo’s Departure Will Affect Ferrari?

By Yoav Gilad
September 10, 2014
13 comments

Earlier today, Ferrari Chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo stepped down from his position leaving Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne to run the business. Montezemolo’s departure isn’t terribly shocking given his background (he resurrected Scuderia Ferrari after Mr. Enzo Ferrari’s passing in 1988) and the Scuderia’s poor Formula One results this season. Additionally, rumors swirled a month ago that Mr. John Elkann, Chairman of Fiat SpA, had had enough and that he himself might assume Montezemolo’s position. 

It all came to a head following last weekend’s Italian Grand Prix where the racing team ran mid-pack for much of the race and subsequently failed to achieve a podium. The talent is there, from F1 champs Messrs. Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen piloting the cars, down to the engineers and pitcrew, but for whatever reason they’ve been unable to put it all together.

At the press conference on Wednesday, Marchionne acknowledged, “Our mutual desire to see Ferrari achieve its true potential on the track has led to misunderstandings, which became clearly visible over the last weekend.” This is the first time that Ferrari has not reached the podium at their home GP since 2008. And while both gentlemen seemed to remain friendly and resigned to loggerheads, Montezemolo joked that “Marchionne has been arguing with me since 2002.”

While passion and conflict may be the status quo (and a matter of levity) at one of the world’s largest auto manufacturers, clearly it signals a change for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Ferrari, both the racing team and sports car company.

With Montezemolo’s exit and Marchionne or Elkann at Ferrari’s helm, if only temporarily perhaps, what do you think will change?

Image Source: Ferrari.com

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Guess (Tom)
Guess (Tom)
7 years ago

I would take a wait and see attitude. It could be a good thing for Fiat/Ferrari with new leadership (I hope) Things evolve all the time and move forward. I just feel sad that no matter what, a Ferrari is not in our future at this time. So I can on be a “Bird On Wire” watching it.

Peter
Peter
7 years ago

It’s conceivable that a Ferrari badged SUV is what they desperately need. If I look out of my window I can see four Porsche SUV’s and one 430. You can guess which one never moves!
In countries such as India the poor quality of roads makes driving high powered lowly suspended Vehicles almost impossible. China has similar to European roads but with much larger congestion problems. Hence where history Is less of a priority ( new money rarely is restrained enough not to go flash ) the buyers will buy what is best for them and not what the European/ USA market likes, ie sporty SUV ‘s and luxury barges.

The Ferrari F1 team is struggling due to the engine freeze more than most. Until this changes and they can adapt their engine to the mercedes turbo layout I fear the next years will remain the same. Without horsepower no amount of aeroupgrades will help or change the ultimate Course of the championship. Monza was never going to be a podium for for them. I can’t believe anyone would change their decision if the result was different.

The fiat 500 ferrari editions I believe have worked well. This is mainly due to the Italian heritage of both firms and the love people have for the little pocket rockets. So a few more of these is ok.
A Chrysler with Ferrari badging would I believe be as tacky as some of the F1 merchandise. A move no one would seriously consider ( well hope not but never know as I said. The same about the Aston Cygnet !).
If the Ferrari shared the same chassis as a chrysler SUV I’m not sure if it drove well people would care too much. If you wanted a sports car the chassis matters more than if you wanted an SUV.

I just would like them to bring back the manual gearbox. I don’t want to go any faster but would like to enjoy the drive and interaction more. The sound is great but auto gearbox’s leave me sad. If they can fix that I’m all for change.

TJ Martin
TJ Martin
7 years ago

Guest ( Nick )

Close .. but here’s the more likely [ actually almost definite ] scenario ;

At the local Ferrari dealerships you’ll soon be seeing a $250,000 Ferrari badged and re-bodied version of the JEEP Grand Cherokee . At the JEEP dealership …. a JEEP Grand Cherokee Ferrari Limited Edition with an additional $20k tacked on to the GC’s bottom line for a decal and a plaque saying it is so .

The worst one though will be the new Unibody FWD [ w/AWD optional ] JEEP Wrangler Ferrari Limited Edition … for again that $20k up charge on top of the base price . Though they may call that the Italian/San Marino GP Ferrari Limited Edition Wrangler instead ….. seeing as how they’re already using Wranglers as rescue and fire vehicles ..

Emanuel Costa
Emanuel Costa
7 years ago

I don’t think Marchionne was eager to call himself chairman of Ferrari, simply because he is already high above, he is chairman of an enormous group. He just wants to control everything. And that is the problem, the company is so huge, with so many branches, that you just can’t control everything, or manage one part (Ferrari) like the others (Fiat, Chrysler and so on).

On the other end, i’m sure Ferrari will loose it’s charm in no time. Cheaper Ferraris and Ferrari badged overpriced SUVs, convertibles and even sedans from the other brands are the way. They will sell like hot cakes in China, India, Middle East and even US (maybe). Soccer and other sports players will still want them, but wealthy gentlemen won’t for sure.

It’s the triumph of matter (or money) over mind (or heart)

Ed
Ed
7 years ago

No one appears to have a good word to say about Marchionne 🙂 But then, let’s be realists here guys, despite the romanticism that goes with the name, Ferrari is still a corporate entity. Which means, like Bentley, Maserati, Porsche et al, it has to make what the customer demands. And in the new-money countries of Asia, Russia and India tha means SUVs. So yes, a Ferrari SUV can only be a few years away.

Itza Ckret
Itza Ckret
7 years ago

Ferrari will end up like Apple when Jobs left…..but who cares, as you all know there is no substitute for 911s

Nick
Nick
7 years ago

“…………..hmmmmmm” interesting.
Don’t they say history repeats itself? Shades of 1967 Ford buying Ferrari, then Fiat stepping in.
If Ford had purchased Ferrari back then, we would have Ford Truck F250 SUV’s with Ferrari badges. At least we got another 30 or so years of real cars. (Daytona’s, Boxer, 308 etc).
I can just see it now: NEW FERRARI GRANDE CHEROKEE 6 SEATER. 10 CUP HOLDERS, 20″ WHEELS. AVAILABLE NOW AT YOUR CHRYSLER DEALER.

TJ Martin
TJ Martin
7 years ago

FYI ; Neither of the Elkann’s has even a modicum of interest in leading Ferrari or FCA in any way shape or form . If they did they’d of shown Marchionne the door ages ago . Fact is … Elkann the Younger is too involved being the drug addled Jet Setting Playboy that he is … while Elkann the Elder’s too wrapped up in his own pretentious little business ventures .. with some rather unsavory characters I might add ..

Va bene . More than Basta ! Eco … Ciao !

TJ Martin
TJ Martin
7 years ago

First off . My apologies in advance as this will be a bit lengthy due to the issue in question being close to my heart as well as one I’m well versed in from the inside out and from several perspectives .

Full discloser … I’m no fan of Montezemolo ….. but ..

Marchionne is a double dealing , back stabbing , pretentious , lying a__ who’s only goal from day one has been to be the head of Ferrari . Not .. because he has any passion or love for the brand .. but more for the image he feels it would impart to him if he were to head up the most prestigious and legendary automotive brand in existence [ not to mention the 2nd most recognized worldwide ] Fact is Marchionne’s been desperate to make himself fit in among the Jet Set for ages .. and in his deluded mindset being head of Ferrari is his ticket in .

Fact is … financially Marchionne has been running what was left of FIAT SpA , along with all its branches [ Maserati FIAT Alfa Romeo … and now Dodge/Chrysler/JEEP ] into the ground despite all the hype FIAT SpA has fed the press for ages … and now has a tight grip on Ferrari as well . Ferrari by the way has never made a solitary Lira /Euro / Dollar of profit since the company’s inception so one can only imagine how deeply it will sink under Marchionne’s misguided and delusional management

So … what will be the result of Marchionne’s ongoing Madness now marching right thru the front door of Maranello ?

1)Even more SheikMaranelloLand theme parks
2)FIAT SpA/FCA’s rampant badge engineering now finding its way into new Ferrari models to include Ferrari badged FIAT/Alfa/Dodges … and … to include the dreaded and much hated JEEP Grand Cherokee based Ferrari SUV which many of us were made privy to .. with all to a number despising .
3) A flood of even more over priced merchandising along the lines of $500 hair dryers – $1200 books and $125 T-Shirts
4) A general all around cheapening of the brand to include lower priced Ferrari’s – Ferrari Special Edition FIAT’s / Dodges / JEEP’s / Alfa’s and Chryslers
5) Marchionne syphoning off what little funds there are for both Ferrari’s F1 efforts as well as the road car division in order to shore up FCA’s ever weakening financial position worldwide
6) The F1 teams importance rapidly diminishing with more corporate sponsorship and logos … [ even to the point of the Scuderia’s colors no longer being red ] being added in order to keep what will be a withering flower somewhat viable and alive .
7) In accordance with stronzetto Marchionne’s overall personality and zeitgeist … Ferrari rapidly morphing into all Fashion with almost Zero Function/Substance [ just like the rest of FCA is already becoming ]

And … well … I could go on forever … but since I’m guessing Yoav wouldn’t appreciate this becoming a Marchionne’s Madness Wikipedia … I’ll refrain and simply end by saying ;

Ferrari ( as we know it ) Is dead ! Long live the memories cause thats all we’ll have left .

Montezemolo said it best in his farewell when he said ;

” Ferrari is now American ”

Which is just about the worst thing imaginable Ferrari could ever become . The only thing equal or worse has been watching JEEP becoming Italian in my not so humble opinion

Ryan Hoyle
Ryan Hoyle
7 years ago
Reply to  TJ Martin

I’d love to see some references to the claims you’re making about Marchionne being a flat terrible leader. I see that Fiat is struggling, but Chrysler on the other hand has been selling cars like crazy. It’s not necessarily Marchionne’s fault that supersized America doesn’t want a Fiat 500. Well, maybe it is his fault that that’s basically all their making. I hope they come up with a good sports car that can sell, but we’ll see.

1)that’s racist
2)Do you forget what the Cayenne did for Porsche? We have many of the 911s and probably the Caymans we have today because of the strong sales of Cayennes. Why do you think so many high end manufacturers keep toying with the SUV idea.
3)eh, then just don’t buy them, who cares. I’m sure the sales numbers for those are minuscule compared to cars.
4)Seriously, seriously doubt this. Ferrari announced yesterday that they’ll continue their venture of selling small numbers and maybe slowly increase volume to reattain exclusivity which it lost a decade or more ago. Which makes sense to me and seems to be working.
5)I doubt it, Fiat is the one struggling. Maserati may finally be starting to make a come back on its own. Alfa and Lancia I don’t know much about, but I’m guessing they’re probably not doing great either.
6)All of F1 seems to be in a pretty big state of flux. I can’t say what my opinion or prediction is, I just don’t know.
-“even to the point of the Scuderia’s colors no longer being red” umm… source?
7)Just no. Can’t disagree more.

Maybe you’re looking for a Ferrari that’s long since went away. Personally, I think Ferrari has been making great and exciting road cars the last several years. I mean you have to admit when the 458 came out years ago and made lap times of the Enzo, they’ve hit their stride and progress is astounding.

In the end, you probably won’t look at this, but oh well. This is the internet, where we voice our opinions(see: argue pointlessly) and tell each other you’re flat out wrong.

Ferrari will be fine, and maybe do better. Just like Chrysler and especially Jeep which has almost a perfect line up out right now IMO.

Vintage Son
Vintage Son
7 years ago
Reply to  TJ Martin

You’re a pretty terrible troll. Ferrari isn’t close to your heart. Ferrari pocketed a NET profit of almost 250 million Euros last year.
http://www.motorauthority.com/news/1090430_ferrari-achieves-record-profit-in-2013-with-fewer-sales

It’s getting tiring of you blasting in the comments. Ferrari is probably going to be left alone now, the reigns are tightening around what the higher ups are allowed to do. Right now FIAT is letting Alfa go and do the engineering and planning, they’re losing more money by the continued backlash and canceling of projects and re-forming of projects than they are by letting them just do it and get it done. I think Ferrari isn’t going to be chaning at all for now, he may be in charge but someone will probably take over soon.

I’m not so happy about Marchionne honestly in some aspects, but he’s making the best with what he’s got. And that’s a bunch of companies in desperate need of cash flow and profits. Fiat is struggling, and they’re restructering to compensate for that. Hate what’s going on? Tough, they have to make a profit to keep going so unless you want to say good bye, it’s going to be more like it is until everyone’s afloat. Alfa and Lancia are deep in the hole, have been fort a long time and almost perpetually. Once they have profit, expect more niche, tradiotional products to start coming back. People don’t buy them because they perceive the brand badly, or at least others better, so it’s going to take time to re establish image.

I’m a car guy first, but I have to be reasonable. This is business as usual. Do I like it? No, not entirely. But I’d rather see the brands survive and make products that are closer to what they once were later than never. That’s my 2 cents on the issue here, and so far Europe’s declining car market isn’t helping.

Christopher Gay
Christopher Gay
7 years ago

Well, they won’t suddenly start winning races.
The ebb and flow of dominance runs its course, and it takes a lot of time to gain an edge in development.
When your engine is clearly down on power to your competitors’ power plant, there really isn’t much you can do in the span of a season.

Mr. Montezemolo has been at the helm for a long time and has seemed to speak quite logically with respect to many aspects of F1 and the FIA as a whole.

It’s a shame, really, but it will be interesting to hear what revelatory decisions come from the new chiefs. Please enlighten us!

I’d say, soften up the rear end low speed bump stop a click or two, and reshape that gaping hole in the nose. 😉

Christopher Gay
Christopher Gay
7 years ago

Clearly… I’m an expert on this matter. :p