Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne seems to be moving away from building a modern version of the Dino sports car, due to other priorities – including the possibility of a Ferrari SUV.
The Dino (which went without a Ferrari badge) was a mid-engined, rear-drive sports car produced by Ferrari from 1968-1976. The Dino badge was in honour of Ferrari founder Enzo Ferrari’s son Alfredo – nicknamed ‘Dino’ – who was a racing driver and engineer, credited with the 1.5-litre V6 that would later see service in early formula racers. He died in 1956 at the age of 24 from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
The Dino was an attempt by Ferrari to offer a lower-cost sports car to take on the Porsche 911, also fitted with a six-cylinder motor (flat-six and rear mounted), which would distinguish itself from the more premium Ferrari V12 models, all of which outperformed the Porsche.
The first road-going Dino built by Ferrari (early 206 GT cars were built by Fiat for homologation purposes) was the 1968 Dino 206 GT, designed by Leonardo Fioravanti at Pininfarina.
In 1968, the 206 GT was superseded by the 246 GT, and eventually, the eight-cylinder 308 GT4 2+2.
Marchionne told a group of analysts on a recent earnings call that an entry-level sports car might diminish the brand’s exclusivity by downgrading from its V12 and V8 models.
He also questioned the need to build cheaper sports cars to attract younger buyers, noting the brand’s incredibly young customers in Asia who can afford the cars, priced as they are.
It’s a surprising move, given Marchionne told a media gathering at this year’s Geneva motor show, he wanted to boost sales to around 10,000 units – not by selling more of the current models, but by producing new Ferrari models.
According to industry journal Automotive News Europe, he outlined other strategies to attract new buyers to the marque.
“We need to explore ways to attract customers to traditional values of the brand such as style, performance and sound before downgrading the entry-level price for the brand,” said Marchionne.
Nevertheless, a final decision on the Dino and possibly news on an SUV, is not likely before Ferrari holds an investor day to announce its next five-year plan first quarter 2018.