Ferrari’s CEO is in no rush to go fully electric and wishes to retain the trademark ‘roar’

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Ferrari NV won’t be giving up on internal combustion anytime in the coming years, the supercar maker’s chief executive officer said, as the company remains committed to a full range of powertrains for a wide range of buyers.

Even as Ferrari races to unveil its first fully electric model late next year, CEO Benedetto Vigna will push ahead with his strategy to innovate with new technologies while remaining open to an array of solutions, he said in an interview for Bloomberg’s Italian-language podcast, Quello Che i Soldi Non Dicono.

It’s a delicate balance for the carmaker, as younger buyers skew electric but many established clients are loath to give up Ferrari’s trademark roar. 

“Some would-be customers tell me that they’d only join the Ferrari community if they could buy an electric,” the CEO said. Others say “they would never purchase an electric Ferrari.” 

Vigna’s comments come during a challenging moment for the high-end automotive sector, as manufacturers wrestle to lower emissions at a time when demand for electric vehicles is slowing and governments are scaling back subsidies.

Mercedes-Benz Group AG has stopped development of separate underpinnings for electric sedans to save money and plans to sell gasoline-powered cars well into the 2030s. Lamborghini’s CEO has said he believes it’s still too early for the firm to make its signature high-performance sports cars fully electric.

But elsewhere, competition in electric vehicles is intensifying. China’s BYD Co. in February unveiled a 1.68 million-yuan ($232,000) high-performance EV that at least in theory would challenge Ferrari and Lamborghini. 

Vigna said he prefers to listen to customers rather than fixate on any single technology, which meshes well with the fact that hybrid models — something of a compromise option — accounted for about half of the company’s new-car shipments last quarter.

“Ferrari needs to be able to give customers a unique driving experience regardless of engine propulsion type,” Vigna said. That means traditional, hybrid and fully electric options, he said. 

Still, the CEO has been the driving force behind the gradual shift toward battery power, and a plant dedicated to building hybrid and electric cars will be ready later this week.

“It’s just a matter of listening to different voices to get a full vision,” Vigna said.

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