The Ferrari prancing horse logo sits on a partially covered automobile at 88th Geneva International Motor Show in Geneva, Switzerland.(Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg)

Ferrari Puts Special Edition Supercar at Heart of Strategy

(Bloomberg) -- Ferrari NV is set to unveil a special edition supercar that will form an integral part of Chief Executive Officer Louis Camilleri’s highly-anticipated five-year strategy plan, according to people familiar with the matter.

The so-called "Icona" project, hinted to customers last month in an invitation, will broaden Ferrari’s offering of limited edition supercars -- a range including multi-million dollar models --- that are aimed at boosting profit margins, said the people, who asked not to be named because details aren’t yet public.

A spokesman for Ferrari declined to comment ahead of a capital markets day scheduled to get underway Tuesday at Ferrari’s headquarters in Maranello, Italy. Details of the supercar could be revealed as early as Monday.

Camilleri’s strategy for the race carmaker will be closely watched by investors, especially whether he will stick with a goal of doubling profit to 2 billion euros ($2.3 billion) by 2022, a plan put forward by his deceased predecessor, Sergio Marchionne. Camilleri was picked for the job by John Elkann, the leader of the Agnelli family that controls Ferrari and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, during a dramatic July weekend as Marchionne’s health took a turn for the worse.

Ferrari Puts Special Edition Supercar at Heart of Strategy

Tough Act

The newly-minted CEO stumbled out of the gate in August when Ferrari shares plunged the most in more than two years after he called Marchionne’s profit targets “aspirational.” The shares fell 0.7 percent to 113.75 euros at 3:35 p.m. in Milan, giving a market value of 21 billion euros.

Special edition models, which typically earn higher margins, could help Camilleri to boost profit without losing the exclusivity of the brand. Ferrari customers typically have to wait more than a year to get delivery of a new car. Limited editions, like the $2.1 million LaFerrari Aperta convertible, are often highly-sought and go to the company’s most loyal customers. Still, the company faces competition in the market from the likes of Lamborghini and Aston Martin.

The new Ferrari CEO has a tough act to follow after Marchionne boosted Ferrari’s value by spinning it off from Fiat Chrysler and then doubling profit in just four years by raising production and introducing one-off models. The former chief, who died on July 25, was preparing to expand the manufacturer beyond sport cars and introduce hybrid electric vehicles, including its first ever SUV. The SUV is not expected to be shown at the planned strategy presentation.

Ferrari is banking on Camilleri getting up to speed quickly. While Marchionne was planning to retire from Fiat Chrysler in 2019, he was meant to stay on at Ferrari for another five years. His succession plan was not as advanced at the Maranello-based company as it was at FCA. Marchionne said in February that Ferrari planned to double its profit to 2 billion euros within five years.

Elkann picked Camilleri as CEO while opting to take on Marchionne’s role as chairman of Ferrari. The race carmaker’s strategy is also seen as a test of his own acumen.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.