Auto blogTue, 18 Nov 2014
Ferrari North America has been sailing without a captain for the past several months since its previous chief executive, Marco Mattiacci, was called home to Italy to run the Scuderia. But now the Italian automaker has announced a new capo to run the office in New Jersey, and his name is Edwin Fenech.
Not to be confused with the French-Italian actress Edwige Fenech (who obviously showed up in our research before the Ferrari exec did), Edwin Fenech has a long history of running regional offices for the Prancing Horse marque. Prior to making the jump to the North American division, Fenech ran the company's operations in the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and China, and previously served as sales and marketing director for France and sales manager for all of Europe.
Now in charge of Ferrari's largest market, Fenech will be responsible for expanding the company's presence not only in the United States - in which Ferrari has been present now for sixty years - but also in Canada as well as Central and South America.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is trying to get capital together in a hurry to finance the automaker's growth plans. Among its strategies to raise money, Ferrari will be spun off from the FCA mothership next year with an initial public offering. However, the Italian supercar maker will be a couple billion dollars poorer at the start of its new life.
According to a filing with US regulators obtained by Automotive News, FCA intends to "enter into certain other transactions including distributions and transfers of cash from Ferrari currently estimated at 2.25 billion euros ($2.8 billion)" before it spins the supercar maker off. Those funds might include paying a dividend to investors, and FCA possibly transferring some of its debt to the Prancing Horse.
The Ferrari IPO will likely be in the second or third quarter of 2015, according to Automotive News. Ten percent of the automaker will go onto the public market in the US and possibly Europe too, and 80 percent will be distributed among current FCA shareholders. The other 10 percent is held by co-chairman Piero Ferrari, according to AN.
The folks behind Generation Gap have lost their minds with this latest video. The goal here is to determine the ultimate family cruiser, but the choices are what you would least expect, with a heavily modded 1970 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser going up against a 2012 Ferrari FF.
You might anticipate an over-40-year-old Oldsmobile to pale in comparison to any modern Ferrari, but this wagon has a ton of secrets under its skin thanks to Lingenfelter. First, it packs a supercharged LS3 V8 with a claimed 650 horsepower and a six-speed manual gearbox. That big upgrade in power is further helped with air suspension and massive Wilwood disc brakes. The result is nothing short of deafening, with blaring yelps whenever the driver even nudges the accelerator.
The alternative sounds just as good, albeit in very different way. The Ferrari's 6.3-liter V12 pumps out 651 hp and 504 pound-feet with a part-time all-wheel drive system. While the FF lacks a lot of the hauling ability of the Olds, it makes up for the deficit in handling, luxury, and in many eyes, simply by having the famous prancing horse on the grille.
With 949 horsepower on tap, it would be hard to imagine Ferrari getting much more juice out of the 6.3-liter V12 hybrid powering its LaFerrari. But apparently, it's possible, as reports suggest that the forthcoming LaFerrari XX will pack somewhere closer to 1,050 hp.
This according to Top Gear, which reports that the successor to the Enzo-based FXX and the subsequent 599XX will be revealed next month in Abu Dhabi at the company's year-end Finale Mondiali extravaganza - the same event where, in years past, Ferrari has presented such extreme machines as the 458 Challenge Evoluzione, the aforementioned 599XX and the FXX Evoluzione.
When the subject of a LaFerrari XX first came up several months ago, Antonello Coletta - head of the department responsible for the XX program - said he couldn't picture the track version of the company's flagship hybrid hypercar being much faster or more powerful than the existing version. But where there's a will, there's a way. TG reports that the extra hundred horses have been corralled in the V12 and not in the electric motor, which will reportedly carry over essentially unchanged from the road-going model.
With nearly 600 horsepower from a sonorous 4.5-liter V8 nestled in an already fantastic platform, Ferrari might have outdone itself with the 458 Speciale. At this year's Paris Motor Show, it took the idea to the next logical step by letting buyers drop the coupe's top with the limited-edition 458 Speciale Aperta. Evo recently got the chance to drive one of the 499 of them; unfortunately, it was pouring rain the whole time. Still, when you get an opportunity to drive such a special Prancing Horse, you don't pass it up, no matter what the weather is doing.
All of the standing water on the road does allow for a chance to see how the Aperta's traction control works in the slippery conditions, and the car handles it with aplomb. In fact, the host has a hard time taking the big grin off of his face for the entire clip. Check out the video to watch this special, new Ferrari and its wonderful V8 go singing in the rain.
Luca di Montezemolo may be 67 years old, but he's not quite ready to retire just yet. Not, at least, if the latest reports emanating from Italy are to be believed. According to Reuters, the longtime former Ferrari chief is due to be named chairman of Alitalia.
The troubled Italian airline is on the verge of being bailed out after years of financial difficulty, with Etihad Airways of the United Arab Emirates set to take a 49-percent stake in the company. While the reports have yet to be confirmed by the parties involved, Reuters cites multiple inside sources in revealing that the airline's board met last week and agreed to appoint Montezemolo as chairman, with current Etihad chief James Hogan to act as chief executive officer.
Montezemolo, of course, long served as chairman of Ferrari, having assumed leadership of the company not long after founder Enzo Ferrari died. He also served as chairman of the Fiat group for several years after the passing of Umberto Agnelli, and has headed numerous trade organizations and sporting bodies. But his tenure at Ferrari and the broader Fiat Chrysler Automobiles empire came to an end two months ago when clashes with Fiat chief Sergio Marchionne saw Montezemolo step down.
The repercussions from Ferrari's pending transition into an independent automaker won't be understood for some time, but one of the biggest consequences could be that the iconic Italian marque will be forced into building more fuel-efficient vehicles.
As Wired points out, while Ferrari built fewer than 7,000 cars in 2013, its status as a public company could trigger pressure from shareholders to build more six-figure supercars and grand tourers. In turn, doing so could lead the company afoul of US Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards, which dictate that any company that sells over 10,000 vehicles needs to maintain a certain fuel economy average across its fleet or risk fines.
With arguably its most popular model, the 458 Italia, hitting just 17 miles per gallon on the highway and its most efficient model, the turbocharged California T, stuck at 18 mpg, Ferrari isn't in a great place to hit the government's mandates (which are somewhat convoluted as Wired explains). The gist of the situation is that Ferrari will either need to continue limiting the number of vehicles it sells each year - a move that's certain to upset shareholders and irk its boss, Sergio Marchionne - or radically improve the fuel economy of its cars at the risk of performance. Rock, meet hard place.
Thankfully, the weekend's Formula One dramas all concerned events that happened off the track, with both Caterham and Marussia going into administration, after which a rumored boycott by the small teams was avoided. That gave the 18 drivers left on the grid freedom to focus on making the most of the Texas sunshine for Sunday's US Grand Prix.
Having finished two Free Practices behind teammate Mercedes AMG Petronas teammate Lewis Hamilton, the second one just .003 behind, Nico Rosberg said he had speed in hand and proved it during qualifying, beating Hamilton to the top spot by four-tenths of a second. Williams drivers Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa came behind, followed by Daniel Ricciardo in the Infiniti Red Bull Racing, Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari, the McLaren duo of Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen, Kimi Räikkönen in the second Ferrari, and little-team Sauber bursting out of the storm clouds into tenth, Adrian Sutil making the team's first-time Q3 appearance all year.
When it came time to race, the carbon-fiber fisticuffs began on the first lap.
Ferrari will pay a $3.5 million penalty for family to comply with oversight requirements set forth by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The federal agency that oversees road safety in the United States announced Friday morning that Ferrari had not submitted early warning reports for the past three years. These reports help the agency identify potential or existing safety threats.
In the wake of the rolling recalls for defective General Motors ignition switches, there has been considerable scrutiny of NHTSA's handling - or mishandling - of these early warning reports. Friday's fine is an indication the agency is taking its enforcement mandates more seriously, albeit against a manufacturer that has no large-scale presence on American roads.
The recently merged Fiat Chrysler Automobiles empire has ambitious plans for growth, and it's going to need some big bucks in its coffers in order to enact them. Part of that cash injection is coming from the floating of its IPO on the New York Stock Exchange, but now FCA has announced a further capital campaign to be based on the enormous asset that is Ferrari.
FCA's board of directors has just approved the separation of Ferrari from the rest of the group as a separate entity. Once that separation is complete, Ferrari will put 10 percent of its shares on the stock market "in the United States and possibly a European exchange" as well.
This isn't the first time that the idea of a Ferrari IPO has been raised. Sergio Marchionne, chief executive of Chrysler, Fiat and Ferrari (pictured above), first raised the idea four years ago. Former Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo nixed the idea, but now that he's been discharged, it appears there's nothing to get in the way of Marchionne's desires.