Sergio Marchionne Turns Up Radio To Fill Silence While Driving Tesla Model S (w/video)



Tesla Model S Is Too Quiet, Says A Foolish CEO

Tesla Model S Is Too Quiet, Says A Foolish CEO

At the Geneva Motor Show, Chrysler-Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne made some ridiculous comments in regards to electric cars. (He’s well-known for that sort of thing)

Marchionne, head of Ferrari too, told reporters that all future Ferraris will be powered by internal combustion engines, and that there won’t ever be an electric Ferrari because the aggressive sound of an engine is part of the driving experience expected by Ferrari buyers.

Quoting Marchionne:

“With Ferrari, it’s [an electric car] almost an obscene concept.”

Marchionne recalls when he drove a Tesla Model S. He said to himself “this is not Ferrari,” due mostly to the lack of noise. In fact, Marchionne say he had to crank the radio up to fill in for the lack of sound made by the Tesla.

When asked about an autonomous Ferrari, Marchionne made yet one more idiotic statement, saying “you’ll have to shoot me first.”

It seems Marchionne has just lined up Ferrari for extinction.

Source: CNN Money

Categories: Chrysler, Fiat

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75 Comments on "Sergio Marchionne Turns Up Radio To Fill Silence While Driving Tesla Model S (w/video)"

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‘When asked about an autonomous Ferrari, Marchionne made yet one more idiotic statement, saying “you’ll have to shoot me first.”’

There was a time not too long ago that a Ferrari would never have an automatic transmission. Now you can’t buy a manual Ferrari.

The switch to automated manual transmissions was driven by demand… Ferrari would still offer traditional manuals if anyone would buy them, but IIRC they sold *eight* in the last year they were offered (out of about 7,000 cars sold that year). Sad, but that’s how it went.

Wouldn’t the same apply to EVs?

Maybe. But historically, Ferrari’s biggest selling point has been its exhaust note. (Seriously.) At this point, I’m more willing to believe that Ferrari can thrive as a high-end throwback with its V8s and V12s while rivals like Porsche go electric than I am to believe that Ferrari can thrive making electric cars.

The equation changes if developed nations start banning ICE cars, of course, but that’s likely still decades away.

Hey, John, thanks for all the cool informative articles at the Motley Fool.

” biggest selling point has been its exhaust note”

I doubt that.

Don’t …. He’s right.

“a brilliant red Barchetta from a better vanished time..”

F1 rules, and more gears produced huge improvements in performance stats – you Can like to row-your-own, but when you’ll be soundly trounced by Every other Ferrari with the F1 developed automatic, ‘this party ain’t happening’.

The exhaust ‘note’ is tied with the ‘burning Hard, Loose and Clean’ engine response – there is simply Nothing that revs up the way that Ferrari do -response, 1 – 5k rpm is instant- and the exhaust must be ‘tuned’ so as not to BLATT alla’ time with throttle-off.. if ya’ hafta’ do all That work, might as well finish the job, lol.

The same thing will happen with autonomous driving. No one likes driving in gridlock, being in a minivan or a ferrari doesn’t affect that. People will demand ferrari add this tech or they’ll buy whichever competitor’s does. That’s why this is such a shortsighted and ridiculous statement. He’s claiming he’ll ignore market pressures on this.

You honestly think people will buy Ferraris to go autonomously fom point A to point B …. Think again.

You are missing the point. No, people won’t buy a Ferrari just to have *it* drive *them* but if they get stuck in a jam or have some important work to do then they will want autonomy just as much as anyone else. Given that it will cost relatively little to add, why wouldn’t it be aded?

And if F doesn’t eventually make EVs then they are doomed.


Relax. The driving experience will soon be outlawed. Passengers will not be allowed to touch anything within the automobile cabin related to the actual conduct of the vehicle.

This directive is similar to the ban on full contact sex that went into effect recently.

Ferrari isn’t facing “extinction”. It only has to sell 7,000 cars a year to make a (fat) profit, and Ferraris are luxury goods, not cars-as-transportation. There will be a market for ICE Ferraris for a long time yet, just as there is still a market for horses.

Sergio has a lot of problems on his plate, but Ferrari isn’t one.

Oh, I’m sure he will have a problem with Ferrari. They sell a lot of their cars to wealthy oil sheiks in the Gulf states. Well, with the price of oil so low and calls for austerity, sales of Ferraris are not going to do so well there.

And in Hollywood & Silicon Valley (where I live), Tesla has become the cool expensive car to have instead of Porsche, BMW, Audi, Ferrari, etc. I literally cannot leave my house and go somewhere without seeing multiple Tesla Model S cars.

Ferrari will live on . . . but it will become more niche as time goes on.

In 2015, 44% of Ferrari’s sales happened in Europe, 34% in North and South America (mostly US), 8% in China, and 14% in the rest of the world. So it’s not dependent on oil barons, it’s dependent on wealthy car nerds who enjoy the Ferrari ICE experience. I think they’ll find enough for at least a few decades to come.

Well, we’ll see. It really depends on how EVs advance. There is currently only 1 company making 1 electric sports sedan and it has had quite an effect on the high-end car market. What will it be like as the EV technology is refined and there are more players in the field. Porsche has that high-end EV on the way. Various Chinese businessmen are trying to build high-end EVs.

But that is a very good point on the market split. That European aspect might get hurt by climate change regulations though . . . or I guess ferrari will build PHEVs to satisfy the requirements.

Ferrari could afford to buy Fiat 500e and give them away with every purchase of a Ferrari.

That would give them the Corporate carbon emission grams per mile average and Corporate MPG average they need to meet regulations.

They sell 7k Ferraris and 7k Fiat 500e per year.

Nicely put —
“Buy a K-car, get a Check!”
turns into
Buy any Ferrari, we’ll throw in a Ciquecento-E for the Kids!”

Agreed, Ferrari will be fine probably much longer than we might think regardless of where the tech goes. They are already a niche player or marquee.

Also many here fail to consider, some Ferrari customers may already own a Model S and Model X and who knows what else. At these price points their average customer is likely NOT a single car estate.

Much as I enjoy driving EV’s the thrill of the sound of an wide open carburetor and healthy exhaust note along with all the associated stuff can still be enjoyable. For a daily driver? not so much. But for a short blasts on “cruise night” it’s great!

Let’s be clear. Ferrari’s future depends on each successive generation of buyers. I have hoped, for many years, that one day I will be one of those buyers. In 2013 I bought a Tesla and now I am hopeful that Ferrari will eventually build an all-electric car. If they do not, I will be looking at Tesla’s revamped sports car when it comes out in around five years. The reason I would buy has nothing to do with the exhaust sound, although I like it, but more to do with the work-of-art the car is to look at. I am now hopeful Tesla can come close in that area when they design theirs.

Actually I understand hin. A Ferrari should be a driven. Autonomous is likely practical and safer. But then again you don’t buy a Ferrari to be practical and safe.


I agree with the autonomy issue in a Ferrari. Nobody buys a Ferrari for that sort of experience. Electric, on the other hand? I think in another 10 years, high end sports cars will all be Electric due to the better driving experience.

The weight of the batteries is still problem for the sports car aspect. But the instant torque of electric motors is quite exhilarating.

If we get higher density batteries and more people trying to build high performance EVs, I suspect the areas where ICE cars are better than EVs to narrow.

“The weight of the batteries is still a problem…” Tesla built a high-performance sports car by accident while making a luxury 4-door sedan. Imagine what their next sportscar will be like when they’re actually trying. Battery weight problem? Not so much.

Well, they built a car that accelerates quickly. It still weighs almost 5,000 pounds, and that does hurt other metrics of performance. That’s something else that should change as the tech advances, but nobody’s bragging about the Model S’s Nurburgring lap times yet, and that matters more than dragstrip runs to lots of performance-car buyers, including the Ferrari crowd.

♬ In the year 2000 ♬ People will only drive race cars on tracks since all public cars will be autonomous. They will have an electric pole to grab electricity from an overhead power supply like current day bumper cars.


Agree on the autonomy issue, disagree on the electric if by that you mean BEV’s.

Ferrari will go PHEV like the others are all ready doing because their customers will demand it. For no other reason than being able to qualify to drive in certain city zones like central London where the mega-rich work and play.

PHEV, yes, definitely. But they won’t give up those gas engines entirely for quite a while yet.

History is a part of “high end” to a lot of people spending Ferrari prices. “All will be electric” is way too strong a statement, unless you mean newer models using PHEV.

Porsche is reintroducing the GT3 with a standard transmission. Demand is A LOT more than 7 cars. It isn’t just the shifting. Heal and toe driving is a manner many drivers use, to balance a car out, while shifting during those critical moments of a brake zone.

David Murry would never say “all” 🙂
Sorry, had to do it. I know somebody who took lessons from him, and still think of that D.M. when you post.

same could be said of auto/manual transmission.
Ferrari was “meant” to have manual, but its customers didn’t.
Same will start to apply with electric power and autonomy – then Ferrari will be the dinosaur

It depends on what Ferrari’s customers demand. As has already been pointed out, Ferrari had to give into demands for automatic transmissions. In the near future, Ferrari customers might well demand EVs, due to the instant response you get from pressing the accelerator, and the high torque at low speeds. That’s why EVs keep winning drag races.

But I agree with Sergio Marchionne on the issue of self-driving cars. Nobody buys a Ferrari just to ride in it. Ferrari isn’t appealing to the general public; it’s a niche market incompatible with autonomous cars.

I agree on EV part, but not on autonomous driving. There are times when you want to take a break for a bit, and having the option will sell, just as people opted for automatic transmission. As such, people will demand autonomous mode when they become more popular.

Think of it this way. In few years, even econo cars will have autonomous mode. Not having it on $200K car is going to be like having car from 1930’s with no air conditioning.

Don’t you think that’ exactly what they want?…. To be the only vehicle left which cannot be switched to full autonomous mode.

They would easily find 7000 customers, always will.

Just like they could easily find 7000 customers who opt not to have AC, cruise control, manual transmission, hand crank windows? Fact is, people want stuff that’s in all cars, and not having basic creature comfort available in econobox makes no sense. No matter what one thinks of Ferrari, they are luxury cars, not race cars.

Do Ferraris come with cruis control? Just curious.

All gas cars are dinosaurs, there just happens to be a lot of them left right now.

Well, obviously most people commenting on an EV enthusiast site will have difficulties understanding what goes through the mind of a Ferrari buyer. Probably Mr. Marchionne is better at that.

…so the idiotic comment isn’t probably his.

My sister drove a Ferrari in Miami’s stop and go traffic for years. Not everyone buys a Ferrari for its performance. Most buy it as a status symbol. Status symbols can be replaced really quick.

Faraday Futures could’ve been that status symbol. I guess they still can if they get their act together.

Does this Ferrari look good on me?

Last night at the monthly meeting of the Seattle EVA, a person brought in a brand new looking red Tesla Roadster that he had just purchased with 812 miles on the odometer. The previous owner was retired and lived in Louisiana. He drove the Tesla regularly, but only to the golf course which was 1/2 mile from his home. “Does this look good on me?” was my comment and everyone laughed.

I really wonder what was the look on his face when you said that.

Exactly evolution and demand by time will tell. Automatic transmission is mainly accepted also because it now allows faster accelerations.

If regulations in 2038 require silent cars in cities, the combustion is used outside the city. The Plugin would increase overall performance.
Autonomous drive is standard in 15 years like an airbag today.
An active mode could even support drivers to become better drivers on circuits…ever thought about that?

I love the smell of whale oil and I am sticking to whale oil!

Dinosaurs may have similar a repulsion to early mammals. Where are they scales, they live in holes, and are all furry, plus they are egg suckers, destroying our young.

Sergio, last of the ice dinosaurs.
Lately it has been hypothesized that the most accident prone of all the dinosaurs was: The Tyrannosaurus Rex.

So he turned up the radio when driving the car? Like a normal human being does on every car? GASP!

And he missed the smell of hydrocarbons so he…Nah, not going there.

It is just an artifact of history that we associate noise with automobile performance. And it is understandable that many people will still cling to it. But things change over time.

Just think about it . . . they are literally defending NOISE.

Why go on a roller coaster, when you can just imagine it? It wastes energy. Why cling to it?

We can take this line of thinking all sorts of places. No-engines doesn’t mean silence, anyways. Brakes, tires and airflow still make lots of sound.

There was a comment on another site where they were saying EVs suck because of the lack of gears! Uh, gears are there to get around the limitations of ICE vehicles. You CAN make an ICE vehicle with a one-speed reduction gear (a’la EVs) but either the top speed or the acceleration will suffer.

Perhaps the term “gearhead” is more apt than I realized. 😉

“they are literally defending NOISE.”

I get your point and generally agree.

But keep in the mind that one man’s noise is another man’s music.

I find those Harley noise terrible (why would anyone love an unbalanced V-twin sound?)

But I find Ferrari, Porsche engine sound very appealing especially on a track. I am not much a muscle car sound lover. But I just went by a nice Z06 the other day and it sounded pretty cool.

At the end of the day, I just think it is no different than someone blasting a loud (fill your favorite type of music) music while driving. The good thing is that EV allows you to choose if you want to. Just a quick and easy “exhaust sound tuner” is all you need (of course combined with good speakers), but it would be far more difficult or expensive to tune the intake and exhaust.

It is true that Harley’s always sound like they are about fall apart, and some people love the way they sound.

For me it’s just noise and vibration.
People also love to be the main attraction and this is why they love loud noise.

In truth, there is no fun in it for you that much and there’s none for anyone around.

I’ll be much happier if they kept it all for themselves.
There’s a thing call civility.

The whole philosophy of “driving a ferrari” with a lot of noise, polution and danger will soon fade into extinction, and become un-cool…like smoking a cigarette

Saying that Ferrari will go extinct if it doesn’t offer autonomous driving is like saying that motorcycles will become extinct if they don’t offer air conditioning. People in the United States don’t buy Ferraris or motorcycles as practical transportation, they buy them because they’re fun to drive. I’m all for autonomous cars and electric cars, but let’s stick to talking about cars that are actually used for transportation.

If motorcycles can come with AC at reasonable cost, then the one that don’t have AC will be extinct. Ferrarris, etc. come with AC, cruise control, automatic transmission. If they don’t offer comparable options to econo cars of the future, they will be extinct.

Uh… air conditioners actually could be offered on motorcycles for a reasonable cost, but nobody would buy it because it’s absurd.

To use a more familiar example, it would be as useful as a screen door on a submarine.

We’re not talking about absurd. Luxury cars, even sports cars, that don’t come with basic functions in econoboxes will not sell, no matter what people claim “it’s for driving pleasure”.

I will agree that people who buy Ferrari will either do it for display or drive it as a toy so they won’t care if all other “transportation devices” become autonomous or not.

But if the battery improves to the point of sufficient competitive (as in Rimac 1) then there is no point not to adopt electric powertrain or at least hybrid in Ferrai.

As far as sound goes, I am sure you can tune the sound even better with synthesizers these days that will emit any frequency you want…

Yup. There’s no magic in sound. Just need to do proper Fourier synthesis from measurements. Put the speaker where exhaust pipe would be, and there you go. SparkEV already has fake noise maker, just take it up a volume.

Exactly. If you want a more mellow tone so you can have an in-car conversation, you can. If you want a more raucous tone for cruising, you can. If you want the sound of a V12 for the drag strip, you can.


Switch it to different “car sound” based on your mood and need and different volume as you need it. Far more flexible than a fixed “sound generator”.

Cost parity of EV’s and dino juice cars is just around the corner. It’ll happen in a decade, tops. Some EV’s can already do today what a Ferrari can do for much less money. The only difference is that a Ferrari has snob appeal and makes brmm brmm noises. For some people, those are very important aspects of a car.

There will always be Ferrari lovers, like there are still lovers of steam engines, horses and biplanes today. It seems that’s the sort of market Marchionne is aiming for. I say good luck to him. He won’t do much damage, however it turns out.

Just because Sergio turned up the radio because the Tesla was so smooth and quiet doesn’t change the fact that he himself is TONE-DEAF to the EV Revolution that has started!

Unfortunate post and reactions on a site where you don’t think sports cars and their drivers are exactly understood, and I don’t mean to be harsh. You cannot talk Nisan Leaf and then pretend you understand Ferrari market or it’s CEO.

Just let it go …. Nobody is buying one here anyways, right?

With 7,000 cars per year, why are we even considering Ferrari ICE vehicles ?

Ferrari and Mr. Marchionne are RETRO and out of serious consideration, just like the 25,000 per year Chevy Corvette nonsense from GM.

Cars like these have NOTHING to do with the broader auto market.

Let’s wait breathlessly for the 2017 Ferrari V-12 announcement.

OOps , I can’t hold my breath that long.

“Porsche customers have no need to worry because the company has no intention of taking away driver control by introducing autonomous tech for its vehicles. “One wants to drive a Porsche by oneself,” company CEO Oliver Blume told a German newspaper, Reuters reports. For the sports car maker, this is a sensible decision, as its owners are driving enthusiasts who desire an exciting experience behind the wheel.”

I expect they’ll eventually get some capability to drive autonomously, but it will be able to be turned off. Insurance costs for self-driving cars will eventually guarantee that only high-end cars will still allow self-driving, because only their owners will be able to afford to do so.

Pardon me, but wow… Dick…

I love the peace and quiet of my Tesla S90D..I find noisy exhaust systems to be annoying and they give me a headache… and then ask me to give up all my comfort for acceleration or handling when I get both in quanity with my Tesla ? Simpy preposterous!!!

Ps.. click my name twice to see my web page @ takes two loads of the page to gwt there… wwwwhooooosssshhh!
I’m gone!!

Ferrari needs to change the horse to a dinosaur