Ferrari mixes sport with power in new Spider and GTS models
By Giulio Piovaccari
MARANELLO, Italy (Reuters) - Italy's Ferrari showed off two new cars on Monday as it pursues an aggressive roll-out of new premium models to sustain turbo-charged core earnings and share price growth.
A day after its Formula One team won the Italian Grand Prix for the first time since 2010, Ferrari took the covers off the F8 Spider and 812 GTS for customers and fans gathered at its historic base in Maranello, northern Italy.
The high-performance sports car and an easier-driving grand tourer (GT) are part of Ferrari Chief Executive Louis Camilleri's plan to launch 15 new models between 2019 and 2022, and achieve a significant increase in average retail price.
"It is less extreme than the 488 Pista Spider, but sportier than the 488 Spider which it replaces in the range," Ferrari said of the F8 Spider, with a 720-horse power 3.9 litre eight-cylinder mid-rear mounted engine and retractable hard top.
Ferrari said the 812 GTS would be the most powerful production convertible on the market and mark the "return for a model type that has played a pivotal role in the marque's history since its foundation".
The GTS has a massive 800-horse power front-mounted 12-cylinder engine and will cost 336,000 euros ($370,742), while the F8 will be priced at 262,000 euros. The first deliveries are expected before summer 2020.
The average sales price for a Ferrari stood at around 274,000 euros last year, including spare parts, a calculation based on financial data from the company shows.
One more launch is expected by the end of the year to take the total to five in 2019, including the F90 Stradale, Ferrari's first hybrid car to be widely produced.
"We want to grow, not by increasing the volumes of existing models but by adding new members to the Ferrari family," said Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer Enrico Galliera, adding it was the highest number of releases for Ferrari in a single year and marked one of its healthiest periods.
Ferrari has also promised several special edition hybrid cars and a utility vehicle, the Purosangue, which is expected by late 2022 as it seeks to almost double core earnings and boost margins to above 38% without sacrificing exclusivity.
Chairman John Elkann hinted last month that the last release of 2019 could be another GT, more comfortable to drive on long journeys.
GTs from the 1960s, some seating four people, are among the most popular at auctions and enthusiast events and Ferrari has said previously that about 40% of its total sales could come from them by 2022, up from 32% now.
Elkann said that Ferrari, which shipped fewer than 10,000 cars last year, would not try to chase German rival Porsche which makes more than 250,000 sports cars and SUVs annually.
"We'll remain consistent with our original philosophy, to always deliver one car less than the market demands," Galliera said on Monday.
The 'Cavallino Rampante', or 'Prancing Horse', known for its racing pedigree and roaring combustion engines, wants 60% of its cars sold by 2022 to be hybrids. Ferrari is also considering a full-electric model, but that will not hit the road before 2023.
Ferrari is set to slow down the roll-out of new vehicles in the coming years and Mediobanca analyst Andrea Balloni predicts more moderate growth in deliveries after a 10.2% increase in 2018 with a high single-digit figure expected in 2019.
"We'll see more sustained growth in Ferrari average selling price," the Milan-based analyst said.
"The real challenge for Ferrari is how far it will be able to push price increases in the coming years".
Ferrari does not change the selling price during a model's life-cycle, normally four to five years. Prices increase only through the introduction of new models, which, in Ferrari's philosophy, always mean better performance than previous ones.
Waiting lists for a Ferrari may be up to 2-1/2 years.
Analysts at Morgan Stanley said last week that they saw Ferrari showing sustainable growth, especially in China, with strong pricing power driving higher average sales prices "and in turn support an increase in margins across its model launches".
Ferrari would continue to return capital to shareholders, Morgan Stanley said, adding his might provide further support to its shares, which have more than tripled in value since they were listed in Milan in January 2016.
($1 = 0.9063 euros)
(Reporting by Giulio Piovaccari; Editing by Alexander Smith)