CAR interviews Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo (2010)

CAR interviews Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo (2010)

By Phil McNamara

Motor Industry

03 December 2010 10:17

CAR recently interviewed Luca di Montezemolo, chairman of Ferrari. He's one of the most established names in the supercar arena, having started with Ferrari in 1973 as founder Enzo’s assistant and grand prix team manager. After winning two world championships with Nikki Lauda in 1975 and 1977, he left to head the organisation responsible for staging the 1990 football World Cup in Italy. Three years after the death of Enzo, di Montezemolo was invited to return to Ferrari as chairman and CEO in 1991 and he's presided over one of the most successful periods in the company's commercial history. Di Montezemolo gives CAR the lowdown on Ferrari’s future strategy, environmental pressures, that Ferrari World theme park, Formula One and Michael Schumacher.

CAR: Talk us through the way you structure the current Ferrari road car range

Luca di Montezemolo: 'We have created three very different sports cars. Each is very, very good. Prices, positioning, marketing - each is aimed precisely for what kind of ‘Ferrarista’ we want to attract. Performance, emotion of driving, technology – they are very different.'

In what way are they different?

'I wanted to do a Ferrari with the engine at the front [550/575] because I don’t want all Ferraris to have the same architecture [348/Testarossa]. With the California, 458 and GTO, our clients are now driving three times the annual mileage that they used to. All of those cars are less than two years old, and they have completely different characters. My wife doesn’t like me going out in the 599, so I found a solution with the California: a GT with four seats. I have two young daughters, you see. But in 30 seconds it becomes a convertible. Then there’s the 458: with two seats, it's like a go-kart. The GTO has the engine in front: around Mugello, it’s quicker than an Enzo. It’s very driveable and has very innovative technology. Don't forget, the 599 GTO sold out before we even presented it. I’m very pleased with the product range.’

If you had your way, which Ferrari would you drive every day?

'If I was a bachelor I’d buy a 458.'

The Califorinia is the first Ferrari to feature a stop/start system. Do added environmental pressures mean Ferrari has to alter the way it operates?

'With the California our target was a 40% fuel consumption improvement over the old eight-cylinder car. We have to work on CO2 and consumption because this is the future, although the car is the best example of freedom. We are fully aware of this, as demonstrated by our hybrid 599. This is a working project, a laboratory car. But in three, or a maximum four years, we want to be ready on the market with a 12-cylinder hybrid. It’s different with the V8: we’re confident we can achieve very aggressive targets through innovation, electronics and technical solutions.'

>> Click 'Next' to read more of CAR's interview with Luca di Montezemolo