Ferrari leaving Italy? Say it ain’t so

Ferrari Sergio

As the first-of-sixFerrari Sergio arrives in Abu Dhabi, rumors of Ferrari moving out of Italy are quashed.

Would a Ferrari made anywhere but Italy still be a Ferrari?

It’s a question that won’t have to be answered.

While Jeep, Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s booming all-American icon, sees manufacturing spread overseas, Ferrari production as well as its tax residence will remain in Italy. Chrysler remains headequartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan and Fiat in Turin, Italy, and Ferrari will stay put in Maranello. FCA issued a statement yesterday that rumors of Ferrari moving “have no grounds. There is no intention to move the tax residence of Ferrari SpA outside Italy, nor is there any project to delocalize its Italian operations, which will continue to be subject to Italian tax jurisdiction.”

On the other hand, according to FCA chief Sergio Marchionne, “headquarters [of FCA] will be in London. It’s clear that group executive functions, the board, my office, some of my functions, need to operate out of London, but that doesn’t mean that I’m giving up my operational responsibilities of the U.S. We will be multi-faceted … we will do stuff everywhere.”

Truly international, FCA would have its primary stock listing in New York, with a secondary listing in Milan, and that the holding group would be registered in the Netherlands and have its tax domicile in Britain. The full integration of Chrysler makes FCA the seventh largest automobile company in the world.

Bloomberg News had reported November 10 that that “Ferrari is considering moving its fiscal residence outside Italy to save on corporate taxes, according to people familiar with the matter.” Well, that’s not Ferraris built outside Italy, but it still caused a major stir, as FCA is Italy’s biggest company and a major source of income for the country, now mired in a recession.

Ferrari moving to London would be insult, however, adding to the harm of reduced tax and income that such a move would incur. It’s not an unwarranted concern, however as FCA chief Sergio Marchionne said he intended spin off Ferrari from FCA next year. Ten percent of FCA’s stake in Ferrari would be made available via a public offering. The rest would be distributed to FCA’s shareholders.

Ferraris being built outside of Italy, as blasphemous as it might seem, is not wholly outside the realm of possibility. The Jeep Renegade will be built alongside the upcoming Fiat 500X at a Fiat factory in Melfi, Italy, and will be the first Jeep to be sold in the United States that isn’t built in North America.

Lamborghini makiong vehicles outside of Italy, however, may come to pass. Lambo chief CEO Stephan Winkelmann said there production capacity at Lamborghini’s Sant’Agata Bolognese factory may be insufficient if the luxury sports car builder goes with the Urus SUV. If the project gets the nod from Lambo’s parent group VW, production could start in 2017.

But Ferarri, now if not forever, stays in Italy.