It's by design, and it means a subtle, slow ramp-up of production – a move Ferrari believes will ensure its future by meeting growing demand in new markets. The strategy was detailed in SEC documents filed this month as part of the company's pending stock offering. The files reveal Ferrari will gradually increase shipments to about 9,000 units per year by 2019.
This is a reversal of Ferrari's 2013 plans to cap production at 7,000 cars annually, which it hit on the nose that year. Ferrari shipments inched up to 7,255 in 2014, though that's down from 2012's record tally of 7,405.
Ferrari is a vastly different operation than it was in 2013. Longtime chairman Luca di Montezemolo stepped down last fall, and FCA chief executive Sergio Marchionne has been overseeing the company since then. Its IPO has attracted high levels of attention from enthusiasts and investors. As expected, demand has reportedly outstripped the availability of the stock, which has an estimated offering price of $48 to $52 a share.
Speaking of more Ferraris, the company revealed a limited-edition model this week called the F12tdf (shown above). Based on the F12 Berlinetta, the car is a salute to the Tour de France endurance auto race that Ferrari dominated in the 1950s and '60s. The V12 engine's output increases to 769 horsepower, while weight is cut by 243 pounds – allowing for a sprint to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds. Dramatic carbon-fiber elements and a radical redesign of the body panels give the F12 a more dramatic look. It will be limited to 799 units over the life of the car. If this is how Ferrari is increasing production, we're more than okay with the company's new strategy.
OTHER NEWS & NOTES
Tesla software unlocks Autopilot features
Tesla released the latest version of its software for the Model S this week, which allows the all-electric sedan to drive in a semi-autonomous state called Autopilot. Tesla Version 7.0 enables the Model S to maintain lane position, change lanes by touching the turn signal, and manage the car's speed using an advanced, traffic-sensing cruise control. It also has a parallel parking feature, which searches for open spots and then parks your Tesla. Autopilot makes use of existing hardware on the Model S, including cameras, radar, and digitally controlled electric-assist brakes. The company compares Autopilot to systems used on airplanes, but notes drivers still need to remain in control of the car. The feature will also be available on the Model X crossover.
Will the Viper vanish in 2017?
The Dodge Viper might be dead in 2017. FCA US could close the Detroit factory that makes the low-volume V10-powered supercar in 2017 as part of its proposed contract with the UAW, Allpar reports. FCA has idled the plant due to slow sales in recent years, and volume has dropped eight percent to 503 units so far in 2015. The Viper's demise has been reported before – it was rumored to be for sale as part of Chrysler's bankruptcy – and still survived. The current generation re-launched for the 2013 model year. Since then, FCA has cut prices, expanded dealer availability, and added a factory-customization program to boost sales.
BMW adds potent M2 for 2016
BMW is giving the 2 Series a high-powered M variant. The 2016 M2 packs 365 horsepower and 343 pound feet of torque from a turbo 3.0-liter inline six that revs to 7,000 rpm. An overboost feature pushes twist to 369 lb-ft. The rear-wheel-drive coupe uses an aluminum M-designed suspension, quad exhaust system, and offers the choice of a six-speed manual or double-clutch transmission. It also features a host of aerodynamic and design treatments in keeping with the M division's performance heritage. The M2 goes on sale in the spring, and pricing will be announced close to the launch. From the 2002 to the 1 Series M coupe, Autobloggers love their BMW coupes. We're salivating to drive this one.