Ferrari is an Italian luxury automaker headquartered in Maranello. The company was founded in 1939 by Enzo Ferrari, but they didn’t build their first vehicle until 1940. Their official inception is recorded as 1947 when they released their first badged vehicle.
In 1969, Fiat acquired 50% of the company and later, in 1988 expanded the investment to 90%. By 2014, Fiat looked to separate Ferrari from the FCA. The separation occurred in 2016.
Ferrari has hit several milestones throughout the years. In 2012, a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO was listed as the most expensive vehicle in history. The car sold for $38.1 million during a private transaction. In 2014, they rated as the world’s most powerful brand according to Brand Finance.
Ferrari is known for its participation in motorsports, where they’ve had tremendous success. They have the highest record of drivers’ championship wins than any other automaker. Their vehicles are also seen as a symbol of wealth, luxury, and speed.
A Summary Of Ferrari History
When Was Ferrari Founded?
Enzo Ferrari wasn’t interested in producing vehicles when he began Scuderia Ferrari. The original headquarters were in Modena in 1929. The company worked to buy, prepare, and field racing cars for drivers. They rapidly became the outpost for Alfa Romeo and took over their racing department in 1933. At that same time, Alfa Romeo stopped using their in-house team.
The Scuderia fielded numerous famous drivers such as Varzi and Nuvolari. By 1935, they built their first race car, named the Alfa Romeo Bimotore.
In 1939, Enzo left Alfa Romeo with the provision that he wouldn’t use Ferrari’s name for any racing cars or races over a four-year period. A few days after the separation, he began Auto Avio Construzioni which existed in the Modena plant.
In 1940, they began producing aircraft parts and machine tools but also created two race car examples, the Fiat 508C platform and the Auto Avio Constuzioni 815. While they were the first Ferrari cars debuted, there was little competition at the time due to the War.
In 1943, they moved to a factory in Maranello and focused on producing grinding machines. Their factory was then bombed several times from 1944 through 1945 by the Allies. They quickly rebuilt the factory after the war was over. During 1945, Ferrari commissioned Colombo to design a V12 engine. The following year, they released all the specs to the press.
The Start of a Company
In 1947, Ferrari released the first Ferrari badged car, the 125 Sport. It featured a 1.5-liter V12 engine. Enzo was the first to take the car for a test-drive on open roads. Two examples found their way onto the Piacenza racing circuit in 1947, driven by Farina and Cortese. They were the first Ferrari vehicles entered into a race.
As time went on, Enzo’s personality helped to grow their racing team and company. In 1961, however, tensions reached the boiling point. Girolamo Gardini, the sales manager, didn’t want Laura Ferrari, Enzo’s wife, involved in the automaker. The two argued about it on a regular basis. Gardini worked with the other manager, Romolo Tavoni, Carlo Chiti (chief engineer), and Giotto Bizzarrini (sports car developer) to remove his wife from the company.
In response to this, Ferrari called for a meeting to oust anyone who disagreed with his wife’s involvement. Once all of them left the company, many thought it wouldn’t be able to continue. In fact, the team that left, started a competing company, ATS. They even took Scuderia Serenissima with them, one of Ferrari’s best customers.
The “great walkout, “as it’s called, was difficult for the company. That’s when they decided to develop a 250-based vehicle to compete with the Jaguar E-Type. That’s when they brought on Mauro Forghieri, a young engineer plus Sergio Scaglietti, a racing body man. They sent the GTO to Sebring with Phil Hill, a driver, and he took first place. Very quickly, this became one of the most famous sports cars to ever exist.
The 1960s ended up being incredibly successful for the company, despite the previous shakeup. Their Dino streetcars had strong sales, and they prepared to release more head-turning vehicles in the future.
Ferrari faced many competitors over the years, but one of their earliest was the Shelby Cobra. This V8 powered sports car gave Ferrari a run for the money. In fact, during the 1960s, Ford offered to buy the company, but nothing ever came of it.
Because of the 1967 Le Mans performance by Ford, all prototypes featuring more than 3000cc were banned from racing. This even affected 330Ps. To protest the decision, Scuderia didn’t participate in the 1968 races.
While the majority of Ferrari’s focus was on racing cars, Fiat saw something else in the company. In 1969, they took a 50% stake. This allowed the company to expand the factory and Fiat transferred production from their Turin plant over to Ferrari.
Fiats influence reached broadly into the marketing and production of further road cars. Meanwhile, their racing division didn’t feel much effect from the new investment.
In 1988, Enzo Ferrari died. He was 90 years old but was able to see the specialist F40 commissioned. At that time, Fiat upped their stake to 90% when they purchased his shares. They also added Luca Cordero di Montezemolo as the President a few years later. He had previously worked as the Sporting Director.
In 2002, Fiat sold off 34% of their stake to several banks, but they later purchased back 29% of it in 2006. By 2010, they invested in the last 5% as well. This returned them to 90% ownership of the luxury brand.
The Modern Age
Over the years, Ferrari produced some iconic vehicles. Some of their more popular models included the California, 288 GTO, Enzo, 458 Italia and the F12 Berlinetta.
In 2014, FCA announced plans to separate Ferrari from the group. That separation started in 2015 by establishing Ferrari N.V. as the holding company. 10% of the shares were placed in an IPO plus common shares got listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The remaining interest went to the FCA shareholders and 10% is owned by Piero Ferrari. The separation was completed in 2016.
Alternative Propulsion Methods
Ferrari first looked into alternative fuels with the unveiling of their F430 Spider at the Detroit Auto Show of 2008. It ran on ethanol. Then, in 2010, they showcased their 500 hybrid version at the Geneva Motor Show. It added an extra 100 horsepower to the original 612.
Most recently, they debuted the Ferrari LaFerrari Aperta. To date, it’s the most efficient and high-performing from the brand. The hybrid powertrain pairs an 800 CV 6262cc V12 engine with a 120 kW electric motor. It’s capable of producing 800 horsepower, giving it a 0-60 mph time of under three seconds.
Ferrari Safety and Crash Ratings
While Ferrari engages in performing crash tests on their vehicles, there’s no concrete data from third-party resources like the IIHS or NHTSA. With that in mind, most people don’t purchase a Ferrari to remain safe on the road, but that doesn’t stop the company from putting as much equipment inside them as possible to protect occupants.
In order to keep the Ferrari a lightweight and a high-performing sports car, it does require that less safety equipment is installed. That doesn’t mean that they neglect everything. In fact, you’ll find ABS brakes and many airbags in all their vehicles. That includes front-impact and side impact airbags.
They also offer a stability control system. This automatically senses when handling limits are exceeded. Then, it either reduces the engine power or applies individual brakes to prevent the loss of control. There are also seatbelt pretensioners which tighten in the event that a collision is possible.
Ferrari vehicles also have a security system available. This protects against unwanted vehicle intrusion. There’s even an ignition disable device which prevents the engine from starting if an incorrect key is used.
Ferrari Safety Recalls
Neither Wards Auto nor Forbes rank the Ferrari in safety recall rates; mainly because there aren’t enough sales to judge it fairly. With that said, there have been several prominent recalls from the automaker.
In 2010, they recalled over 1,200 cars because of a design fault that caused some to burst into flames. The vehicle involved was the Ferrari 458 Italia, and several were gutted by vehicle fires as a result of the malfunction.
In 2014, they recalled another 3,082 458 sports cars because of a defect with the interior latch. The trunk space is located in the front of the vehicle, but in these cars the latch inside malfunctioned meaning people could get trapped inside. This feature was designed to keep kids from accidentally getting stuck inside.
Then, in 2015, they had to recall another 2,600 vehicles because of defective airbags from Takata. Of course, they weren’t the only automaker caught up in airbag recalls.
Consumer Satisfaction Reports & Dependability Ratings
Again, it’s difficult to find detailed studies performed on the Ferrari brand, mainly because there just aren’t enough customers to interview. It’s nice to have third-party data to fall back on when looking at things such as customer satisfaction and dependability, but that isn’t always possible.
When someone plans to invest money in a Ferrari, they tend to know what they’re getting. Many people try them out first by starting with a Ferrari for rent, either for a special occasion or while traveling. Once they’ve found a Ferrari to rent and drive in, they’re obsessed with owning one. Therefore, it would be quite tricky to disappoint them at that point.
While most owners of older models seem pleased, there is something exceptional about what the newer-model owners feel. Few drivers had anything negative to say about their Ferrari cars.
It’s important to keep in mind that repairs on any exotic vehicle are pricey. The nice thing is that most Ferraris don’t seem to have many issues to deal with. This even includes the cars that are used for daily or regular driving.
The Ferrari doesn’t run in the same pack as most vehicles, so you won’t find them winning the same type of awards either. They do have their share of accolades, including:
- The turbocharged V8 engine was named the Engine of the Year for 2018. Actually, it’s won the past 20 years.
- Ferrari 488 GTB won Britain’s Best Driver’s Car in the Autocar Awards 2016 and Supercar of the Year from TopGear Magazine in 2016.
- LaFerrari won Best Design for Sports Cars & Convertibles and Design of the Year from the AutoDesign Awards in 2014.
Ferrari World/Ferrari Land
Just like Disney World and Disneyland, Ferrari has its own set of theme parks for enthusiast’s enjoyment. Ferrari World was the first branded theme park and is located in Abu Dhabi. They feature 37 rides and attractions that appeal to everyone in the family. It’s easy to race champions, discover new technologies, break records, and join with others that share the same desires.
Ferrari Land is located in Spain and offers a huge selection of games and rides. Some of these include Red Force, Thrill Towers, Maranello Grand Race, Flying Dreams, and a Kids’ Podium. In the Ferrari Experience, drivers get to find their motorsports passion in a way that isn’t offered anywhere else in the world.
In Italy, there is a Ferrari Simulation Center that allows visitors to attempt driving in a safe environment. They practice their reflexes and learn all about the different tracks, up close and personal. There are nine circuits played, from Barcelona to Nürbürgring. The 180-degree high-definition screens envelop drivers with realistic graphics along the way. They even offer three F1 simulators that are great to rent for a party.
There are several Corso Pilota programs run by the automaker across the world. These aren’t just for intensive instruction, but great for drivers at any level. It allows enthusiasts to enjoy the pleasure and thrill of driving a Ferrari on a supervised track.
The two-day precision driving schools allow anyone to experience the Ferrari performance in a controlled environment. They’ve been offered since 2006 in Canada and Austin, Texas since 2013. They also have locations in Italy.
Partnerships with Ferrari
Throughout their years in business, Ferrari has entered into numerous partnership agreements.
In 1963, Ford approached Enzo Ferrari with plans for a buyout. The process went on until Enzo realized that the plan didn’t allow him to stay in control of the racing program. Instead, Ford refocused on negotiating with Lola, Cooper, and Lotus, which ultimately led to the production of the 1964 Ford GT40.
In 1969, Fiat purchased 90% of the company and controlling interest. Enzo retained 10% share, which is now owned by Piero Lardi Ferrari, his son.
They’ve also maintained a long-standing partnership with Shell Oil. Both Ducati and Ferrari test and supply fuel to Formula One, World Superbike, and MotoGP teams.
Prior to the 1990s, the company utilized a three-number scheme that varied based on the engine displacement. The first two numbers showed the displacement, while the third represented the cylinders. For example, the 348 featured a 3.4-liter V8 engine just like the 206 had a 2.0-liter V6.
V12 engines utilized the displacement of one cylinder. So, the 365 had a 4,390cc V12 engine, but one cylinder would have been 365. Boxer 12 vehicles used the liter displacement measurement for its first digit plus the number of cylinders in the next two. So the BB512 was a five-liter flat-12 engine.
Their flagship models used the letter F and then the anniversary in years. These are seen with the F40 and F50.
There have always been exceptions to these rules, such as with the Mondial or Testarossa.
Ferrari models also feature a designation in relation to the body style. Here are some conventions:
GTB – coupes or closed Berlinetta
GTO – shows an improvement over a previous model, mainly for racetrack usage
GTS – open convertibles or spiders; with recent models using a Targa top
M – used at the end of a model number to define a newer version of a predecessor
Their Dino models took the name of Dino Ferrari, Enzo’s son. They were sold at Ferrari dealerships along with the regular lineup.
Ferrari works hard to reduce the environmental impact of the vehicle’s lifecycle. That’s why they implemented a global protocol for the end of life. Ferrari dealerships dispose of old cars in a manner that reduces environmental impact.
Customers pay no extra fees and the company transfers the vehicles to their closed Approved Treatment Facility for recycling and disposal.
To participate in the program, the vehicle must meet these criteria:
- All components need to be present
- No additional waste found in the vehicle
Snapshot of the Company
Ferrari N.V. was founded in 1939 in Italy by Enzo Ferrari. They currently operate from two headquarters: one in Maranello, Italy and another in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The current chairman is John Elkann and the company has over 3,000 employees worldwide.
Ferrari is listed as #1,283 on the Forbes Global 2000 list.
In 2018, Ferrari had sold a total of 190,000 vehicles since their inception. In fact, in 2017, they sold 8,398 cars which was up 5% over the previous year. They also said that their profits went up 34% over 2016 because of the V12 sales and additional personalization.
Their goal in 2018 was to reach 9,000 sales which would help them achieve revenue of 3.4 billion euros.
The Maranello factory produces the vehicles for worldwide shipments. It’s unlike any other car manufacturing plant. There’s a Chairman’s Building which houses the leadership. This contains the offices for the chairman, VP, and CFO, among other administrative executives.
Then, there’s a Product Development section filled with designers and technicians working on the next Ferrari vehicle. The headquarters are spread out over three levels with diverse areas designed for employees to relax and mingle. There’s even a restaurant with high-end food options.
Just like Ferrucio Lamborghini, Enzo Ferrari gave his company logo a personal touch. The symbol for Ferrari race cars has been the prancing horse (Cavallino Rampante). Enzo Ferrari was greatly influenced by the parents of Italian World War I hero Francesco Baracca whose plane was adorned by similar horse. He met Barraca’s parents count Enrico Baracca and countess Paulina in 1923 when Baracca’s mother asked Enzo to paint her son’s emblem on his race car for good luck. It also has the letters S F, which stands for Scuderia Ferrari. Road cars use a rectangular badge placed on the hood and sometimes the race logo on the sides, closer to the door.
The company markets their luxury cars much like most other high-end brands. They have an extensive global outreach, but they target a specific customer. While their website sees tens of thousands of views each day, they rely on advanced tracking methods to determine who is seriously considering making a purchase and who is just curious.
Once they target their customers, they employ the use of banner ads to attract them back onto the site. They also use adverts on similar sites that target the right customers. Ferrari is an exclusive brand, so it doesn’t make sense for them to advertise in traditional ways. They only have a handful of dealerships across 52 countries and they take great pride in their supercar brand.
The company’s beginnings revolved around motorsports, and they’ve had a lot of success over the years.
While the first racing car designed by Enzo Ferrari was the 1940 AAC815, it wasn’t badged as a Ferrari. What’s interesting about the company is that they are the only team to have competed in every Formula One Championship since it started in 1950. Only one year later, the team celebrated their first victory during the British Grand Prix thanks to José Froilán González.
Ferrari won their first Drivers Championship in 1952. They are also the most successful team to race in the championship. They hold most every record available. In 2014, they also held 15 World Drivers Championships titles, 16 World Constructors Championship titles, 221 Grand Prix victories, 679 podium finishes, over 200 pole positions, and more than 200 fastest laps.
Some of their most famous drivers include José Froilán González, Tazio Nuvolari, Fernando Alonso, Alain Prost, Clay Regazzoni, and John Surtees.
Towards the end of 2006, F1 teams agreed to end sponsorship deals with the tobacco companies, but Ferrari allowed Marlboro to continue sponsorship. They even entered into a five-year contract that didn’t stop until after the 2011 season. Prior to the end of the agreement, Marlboro ended their on-car advertisements in 2008.
Formula One wasn’t the only avenue the company achieved success in. In 1949, a 166 M driven by Luigi Chinetti won the 24 Hours of Le Mans. They also won the title of the World Sportscar Championship seven times during its first decade.
The championship changed their formatting in 1962 which led to titles for Ferrari in one class every year until 1965. They took one more title in 1972 before Enzo chose to leave sports car racing to refocus on Formula One.
While they haven’t participated any further as a team, there were some cars produced for privateers. These include the BB 512 LM, 333 SP, and 458 GT2.
Ferrari is never afraid to supply cars for other teams. Even back in the 1950s, they provided vehicles for private entrants and motorsports teams. One of the most popular was for Tony Vandervell who raced a Ferrari prior to building their own cars.
They also supplied cars with V8 engines in the A1 Grand Prix races during the 2008 through 2009 season. Roy Byrne designed them to resemble the Formula One vehicle from 2004.
Even now, the company runs a GT program for customers. It includes the 458 racing version. Some of the private teams include the Italian AF Corse and American Risi Competizione. All of them have found success with Ferrari racers. Their car is designed for sportscar racing and competes against the BMW Z4, Audi R8, and the McLaren MP4-12C.
There are two available Ferrari museums available, each with their own perks.
Museo Ferrari Maranello
Located in Maranello, Italy, the museum brings the Prancing Horse dream alive to visitors. It’s been open since 1990, but they added a new wing in 2004. Now it features a surface area of almost 27,000 square-feet.
They share the journey of discovery through the history of the cars. Current exhibitions include Passion & Legend plus Driven by Enzo. They also share the entire story of the company; from the past to the present. Throughout the year, there are regular special exhibits on display as well.
Aside from vehicles, there are also historical objects, photographs, and trophies on display. You can see many technological innovations that were used in the racing and road cars. Because it’s less than 1,000 feet from the factory, they also offer a full tour.
While in the museum, there’s also a semi-professional Formula One simulator to try out.
Museo Enzo Ferrari Modena
In Modena, Italy, there’s the Museo Casa Enzo Ferrari, otherwise called Museo Enzo Ferrari. This structure focuses on the works and life of Enzo, the founder of the brand. It includes two separate parts. One is the former house and his father’s workshop. The newer building was designed by Future Systems. The 65,000-square-foot facility consists of an extensive gallery, some permanent exhibitions with noteworthy automobiles, and some Formula One race cars. They even have some of the rare models from the 1950s.
Ferrari Financial Services
Ferrari Financial Services is based in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. They offer customers a unique experience, even during lending. They help owners manage tax implications and capital preservation. Services are available to both new and pre-owned Ferrari owners. The company provides conventional loans as well as balloon payments.
Leasing options range from 13 through 60 months. There are also several mileage options which are either closed-ended or open-ended.
For customers that already own Ferrari vehicles, they offer a line of credit based on the equity of the collection. Credit lines begin at $500,000 and can be used for more cars or to provide liquidity for business ventures.
The company also offers a seven-year maintenance program. This helps owners to maintain a high level of efficiency, safety, and performance, even after several years. They also provide Extended Service Coverage for 15 years. There’s even a pre-owned warranty available to customers.
As an additional benefit, they have Road Assistance and Recovery. The program isn’t available in the United States but does offer assistance elsewhere in the world. Customers receive help during a breakdown, theft, accident, flat tire, flat battery, empty fuel tank, or lost keys. They also offer towing to authorized Ferrari garages when needed.
Ferrari Dealerships are located throughout the world. In the United States, there are also several available situated around the major cities. In New England, locations include Boston, Massachusetts, four around New York City, and one in Philadelphia, PA.
Otherwise in the northeast, there are locations in Washington, D.C., Columbus, OH, Chicago, IL, and Detroit, MI. In the southeast, there are only two locations, one in Greensboro, NC and another in Atlanta, GA. Additionally, there are five locations in Florida. Two of them are near Miami with the others in West Palm Beach, Tampa, and Orlando.
Moving further west, there are four dealerships in Texas. They are based in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin. There’s also a dealership in Denver, CO, Salt Lake City, UT, Las Vegas, NV, Phoenix, AZ, Portland, OR, and Seattle, Washington. Locations in California include two in San Francisco, four surrounding Los Angeles, and another one in San Diego.
7 Interesting Facts about Ferrari
1 – Today, you’ll find Ferraris in yellow, grey, and red, but at one time, they were all red. That’s because red was the color the FIA assigned to any Italian Grand Prix racecar. Believe it or not, most people still choose the color red when buying from this brand.
2 – Enzo was a motorcycle enthusiast and he even won some motor races. His favorite bike was the Rudge, a British label.
3 – Enzo’s one son, Alfredino, otherwise known as Dino, died at the age of 24 because of muscular dystrophy. Enzo visited his grave every day.
4 – Ferrari doesn’t make all of its money from automobile sales, but through lots of accessories sales as well. They sell toys, sporting goods, and clothing as well.
5 – They’ve never made an SUV unlike many of the other automakers. They prefer to stick to racing and sports cars.
6 – Ferrari vehicles love the big screen. They’ve been in some blockbuster hits including ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,’ ‘Weird Science,’ and the animated film, ‘Cars.’
7 – Numerous celebrities own the brand. Some of them include Lindsay Lohan, Nicolas Cage, Paris Hilton, Justin Bieber, David Beckham, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who Invented Ferrari? The company was founded in 1939 by Enzo Ferrari, but they didn’t build their first vehicle until 1940. Their official inception is recorded as 1947 when they released their first badged vehicle. In their early years, the main focus was on race cars, and not as many road vehicles.
Does Fiat own Ferrari? Who owns Ferrari now? Fiat did own 90% of the shares in the company, but they separated in 2015. At one time, Ford attempted to acquire Ferrari as well. Today, Ferrari is owned by public shareholders (67.09%), along with the Exor N.V holding company (22.91%), and Piero Ferrari (10.00%).
Is Ferrari Italian? Yes, the company began in Italy in 1939 and remains there to this day.
Are Ferraris Reliable? There aren’t enough independent studies to compare the brand to others. With that said, they do offer some of the longest warranty and maintenance plans available in the automobile world. In addition, most any of their customers have no trouble sharing how happy they are with their purchase.
Did Ferrari Make Tractors? Unlike Lamborghini and Porsche, there are no factory-made tractors from the Ferrari Company.
Who Makes Ferrari Watches? Scuderia Ferrari watches are produced by Movado but don’t have any of their brandings. Instead, they are sold through Ferrari and are made in Italy.
Which Ferrari is the Fastest? The fastest production vehicle was the 812 Superfast. It’s their most powerful Berlinetta ever made and is capable of hitting 60 mph in just 2.7 seconds with a top speed of 211 mph.
Do Ferraris Have Back Seats? There have been a handful of Ferraris with back seats. They included the 250 GT/E, 330 GT 2+2, 365 GT 2+2, 365 GTC/4, Dino 308 GT4, Mondial, 456 GT, California, and most recently, the GTC4Lusso.