"I hope that the clients will remain more important than the analyst or the investor or the financial markets", di Montezemolo (below) told reporters, including the Detroit Free Press, before accepting his place in the hall of fame.
The former Ferrari chairman warned members of the press that a publicly traded Ferrari could come under pressure from Wall Street to trade away some of its exclusivity in order to meet short-term financial targets.
To highlight his point, di Montezemolo talked about the LaFerrari hybrid supercar: "What I like when you see LaFerrari is that it has had a fantastic success because we were very, very keen to maintain exclusivity — to do far less cars than what the market demanded."
Ferrari, the former chairman claimed, reached a level of greatness because it not only focussed on "people, products and clients" but also sought "exclusivity in terms of number of cars, exclusivity in terms of how you deal with the clients".
Di Montezemolo left his post as chairman of Ferrari in October 2014, a post he held since 1991, and was replaced by Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne. The two reportedly clashed when di Montezemolo insisted that Ferrari retain its independence, as well as its self-imposed production limit of around 7000 vehicles per year.
Above: Ferrari LaFerrari.
FCA has since announced plans to separate the luxury sports car maker from the mothership and list it on the New York Stock Exchange. Currently Fiat Chrysler controls 90 percent of Ferrari, with the remainder held by Piero Ferrari, the son of founder Enzo Ferrari.
After the separation, Pierro Ferrari will keep his share, FCA will float 10 percent of Ferrari and distribute the remainder to its own shareholders. Thanks to preferential voting rights for long-term holders of Ferrari stock, the Agnelli family, which owns a large chunk of FCA, and Pierro Ferrari will control over 50 percent of the company's votes.
The move will raise cash for FCA, which will help it cut its debt load, as well as fund development of new models, some of which are reportedly delayed thanks to the company's focus on relaunching Alfa Romeo.
As part of its IPO filing, Ferrari stated it will aim for "controlled growth in developed and emerging markets". Marchionne has stated on the record that he believes that Ferrari is worth at least 10 billion euros ($15.1 billion).