Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: South Africa
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Future Ferrari Plans Outlined by Ceo Amedeo Felisa
Ferrari CEO Amedeo Felisa on a visit to Australia has outlined a number of future Maranello developments including plans for a 458 Spider, that the hybrid concept 599 to be shown in Geneva next month isn't destined for production, although a lighter and more-powerful GTO version of the V12 sports car is on the way. He also stated that there was no development as yet of a 458 "Scuderia" but that a new Enzo supercar was in the pipeline.
Felisa is in the country to attend the opening of the brand-new Ferrari Maserati Sydney dealership which will also incorporate the offices of Ateco Group, the importer for the Fiat, Fiat Commercial and Alfa Romeo brands in Australia as well as the niche Maranello and Modena brands. A Ferrari 458 Italia and Maserati GranCabrio have been flown in especially for the occasion with both models making their Australian debuts today. More than 100 orders have already been taken for the 458 Italia meaning that the waiting time in Australia is up to 18 months. Felisa confirmed that a Spider version of the coupé 458 Italia would go on sale next year although a higher-powered/lower-weight 'Scuderia' version isn't planned as yet.
Ferrari Chairman Luca di Montezemolo confirmed at last week's launch of the new Formula 1 F10 single-seater that a hybrid version of the 599 GTB Fiorano will debut at the Geneva Motor Show next month; Felisa today added more information. The test mule has been running for a year now, he said, and it will reduce fuel consumption and emissions by up to 25 percent. “We will present the new concept of the hybrid at Geneva. It will be based on the 599, but that doesn’t mean it will debut on that model,” GoAuto reported the Ferrari CEO as saying. “We have a plan to introduce on our cars new technology that will reduce consumption and emissions," added Felisa. "The next step is to apply the technology on Ferrari cars''.
Felisa revealed that the 599 hybrid will carry a 80 kg weight penalty due to the incorporation of the new "green" technology but that any production application is at least five years away. “The technology is not ready," he told GoAuto. "The suppliers are not ready. Everything is underdeveloped. There is a lot of work to do. It is not for tomorrow. “We haven’t decided when it will be introduced. It will be around that period 2015, but not before five years.”
Felisa said that the new hybrid technology can be applied to all Maranello's sports cars, including those that are front- or mid-engined or fitted with V8- or V12-engines. “If we move on the hybrid I think the technology is applicable on all our models,” he said, adding that the engineering team that developed the KERS [Kinetic energy Recovery System] package used on the Scuderia's F60 single-seater in grand prix racing last year, would now be entrusted with developing the new technologies that aim to save fuel and reduce emissions.
The first production fuel-saving technology will debut on the California in 2011. “If you couple direct-injection with other technology [a fuel consumption and emissions reduction of] up to 15 per cent is possible. “Then there is cylinder deactivation, stop-start, electric motors for certain functions, we will launch the first of these on the California next year.” Parent company Fiat Group has already introduced the fuel-saving stop-start technology across models in the Fiat Automobiles range, including the 500 and Punto Evo.
GoAuto asked Felisa if Ferrari planned to introduce V6 layout engines as a means of improving fuel efficiency, he replied: “If I had to answer the question a year ago I would have said no, but attitudes are changing and we build cars for customers. In 20 years, who can say?” However a fully-electric sports car isn't in the planning pipeline. “If you look at global warming, the right solution is not full electric,” Felisa said. “It’s more a marketing solution than a real one, sound is just as important as design and performance for Ferrari. We will not make engine sounds with speakers.”
Although the Geneva-bound 599 hybrid concept is making all the media headlines at the moment, the current 599 GTB Fiorano is however set to receive major production upgrades. With sales of the front/mid-mounted, V12-engined sports car very sluggish despite the arrival of the HGTE handling upgrade package, a much-rumoured higher-powered GTO version - Felisa confirmed - is "coming". He also confirmed that a next-generation Enzo supercar is on the way although it won't carry forward the Enzo name and will be limited to left-hand-drive only.