Ferrari says it will never make self-driving cars

by The Insights

For years, Ferrari dragged its heels in joining the electric vehicle revolution until it finally gave in and started developing an all-electric car. But the Italian luxury carmaker says it’s unlikely to give in to another major automotive trend: self-driving vehicles.

The supercar maker’s signature brand is designing sports cars that people want to drive themselves, and capitulating to self-driving technology like others like Tesla would be against the spirit of the company, according to the Ferrari CEO Benedetto Vigna.

“There are four types of software. There’s performance software, there’s comfort software, there’s infotainment software, and there’s range,” Vigna said at the Future of the Car Summit hosted by the FinancialTimes in London on Tuesday.

“The last one, who cares,” he continued.

It’s not the first time that Vigna or other Ferrari executives have pledged not to become self-driving, arguing that allowing their cars to drive themselves would defeat the purpose of buying them. one, because most customers who buy a Ferrari don’t plan on being driven. by someone or something else.

“No customer is going to spend money on the computer in the car to enjoy driving,” Vigna said in an interview with Bloomberg Last year. “The value of man, of the human at the center, is fundamental.”

Ferrari executives knew as early as 2016 that self-driving technology was not on the cards for the company anytime soon. “There won’t be a standalone Ferrari for the foreseeable future,” said Nicola Boari, Ferrari’s then director of product marketing, in an interview with Car magazine. “When you drive a Ferrari, we want you to focus.”

In the case of Ferrari, a company that proudly does nearly all of its production in-house, executives may not have wanted to devote resources to developing self-driving technology, Vigna suggested during the interview. FT‘s summit.

Automakers, from traditional automakers to self-driving startups, have invested more than $100 billion in self-driving technology since 2014, according to a 2021 report from consulting firm McKinsey. But few companies have much to show for their investments, as Tesla vehicles equipped with driver assistance systems alone have been blamed for causing hundreds of accidents.

Despite the setbacks, many automakers are stepping up their efforts on autonomous driving, especially companies backed by grandparents. For example, Volkswagen AG, one of the world’s largest automakers by sales and which operates brands such as Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche, last year announced a $2.3 billion investment in a joint venture with a Chinese self-driving company.

While Ferrari won’t be launching self-driving cars anytime soon, if ever, potential customers hoping the luxury brand will modernize were likely encouraged by Vigna’s comments about the company’s planned electric future.

For the same reasons Ferrari opposed self-driving cars, it was reluctant to trade in its powerful combustion engines for quiet batteries. In 2013 Luca di Montezemolo, then the company’s chairman, claimed that Ferrari would “never make an electric car as long as I’m chairman”, as the company tried to stay close to its roots.

But the tide of electric vehicles has only grown in the decade since, with several other sports car brands, including Porsche and Maserati, introducing their own electrified models. Ferrari is currently developing its first all-electric car, due in 2025, to stay competitive and has even announced a goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2030 across its entire value chain, from materials sourcing to manufacturing. manufacturing. The company will continue to produce hybrid and internal combustion vehicles, using e-fuels made from captured carbon dioxide emissions and cleanly generated hydrogen.

In a financial outlook presented last year, Ferrari had set a target of 80% of its sales being hybrid or fully electric by 2030, and during the FT summit this week, Vigna reiterated that due to e-fuels, the company’s growth plan was “fully consistent” with its carbon neutral goals.

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