Ferrari seeks further expansion outside auto industry image

The Italian brand’s impressive supercars and title-bringing Formula One cars have created a legendary aura for the automaker and the company is increasingly seeking to cash in on the panache as it prepares to become independent.

Recently, Sergio Marchionne, chief executive of the parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced the intention to spin off Ferrari in 2015, with 10% of the shares offered to investors through an initial public offering and the rest divided among FCA shareholders. Now, the brand aims to position itself not just as an ultra-luxury car manufacturer, but more akin to a luxury goods company, such as Armani or Hermes.

Chairman Sergio Marchionne should offer more details in the coming weeks about the moves, but already the potential has the two worlds spinning in anticipation, with analysts forecasting the brand could further refine its merchandise line, introduce new amusement park locations or initiate an exclusive chain of clubs and hotels catering to Ferrari owners or other seriously wealthy potential clients. “I actually think cars are almost incidental to Ferrari,” Marchionne even said last month.

If the investing community is persuaded that Ferrari could be a great made-in-Italy luxury goods producer could massively multiply Ferrari’s market value – as the automaker today is cornered by the self-imposed 7,000 a year car sales cap and the fact that building high-performance engines and race cars is… utterly expensive.