MILAN -- Ferrari is evaluating whether to build a modern version of its 1960s Dino small sports car but it may not happen because of fears that it would dilute the brand's exclusivity.
Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne said there are split views within the automaker's management on whether to revive the Dino nameplate for an entry-level sports car. Not everyone is convinced it would be a good move, he said.
The idea of reviving the Dino is being "kicked around," Marchionne said on a call with analysts to discuss the automaker's second-quarter financial results.
Marchionne said it would be dangerous to lower the entry level price for a Ferrari.
He also said he was unsure whether a cheaper Ferrari is necessary to attract younger buyers since the brand has a "phenomenally young" customer base in Asia who can afford the brand's expensive cars.
"We need to explore ways to attract customers to traditional values of the brand such as style, performance and engine sound before downgrading the entry level price for the brand," Marchionne said.
Bernstein analyst Max Warburton said in a note to investors: "Marchionne appeared to dismiss the idea that a smaller Dino sports car is imminent, to our surprise."
Former Ferrari Chairman Luca di Montezemolo resisted suggestions that the brand should build a modern Dino but the possibility was revived when Marchionne took over as chairman in 2015.
Marchionne aims to boost Ferrari's profits by increasing annual deliveries beyond a self-imposed limit of 10,000 cars. To achieve this, Ferrari will need to broaden its appeal beyond drivers attracted by its powerful 8-cylinder and 12-cylinder models. In 2005 Marchionne said a V-6 sports car like the Dino is "not a question of if but when."
A new Dino could start in Italy from around 150,000 euros, about 20 percent below the current cheapest model, the 190,000-euro California T, company insiders said.
Evercore ISI analyst George Galliers said if Ferrari builds a V-6 car, the company would have to ensure that its performance was comfortably ahead of other sports-car makers such as McLaren Automotive and Porsche and to a lesser extent Audi and Mercedes-Benz.
During the second-quarter call Marchionne said a decision on the Dino will be made public when Ferrari holds an investor day announcing its next-five year plan, likely during the first quarter of next year.
He also confirmed that Ferrari is considering challenging in the growing market for ultraluxury SUV/crossovers with a roomy, four-seat "utility" vehicle. It would be for "the selected few" and would not to compete with the high-end sports car brands such as Porsche, he said.
Ferrari built the mid-engined, rear-drive Dino from 1968 to 1976 as part of an engine joint venture with Fiat that led to production of Dino cars for both brands. The Ferrari cars did not carry the brand's prancing horse logo. The model was named Dino in memory of Ferrari founder Enzo Ferrari's son, Dino Ferrari, who died from a chronic illness aged 24.