But in an exclusive interview with CNBC on Sunday, Marchionne said he is committed to preserving Ferrari's legacy, quality and racing prestige.
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"The business itself is in good hands with FCA," he said. "As long as we don't screw up the DNA of Ferrari."
Clearly, however, Ferrari will change under Marchionne. Di Montezemolo, an Italian aristocrat with flowing hair, tailored suits and a history in racing, was a staunch defender of Ferrari's exclusivity and independence. He capped production at 7,000 last year to raise prices for new and used cars, and he promised to hold it to 7,000 this year as well.
Marchionne has said Ferrari could increase production to 10,000 cars to keep up with growing demand. He said this year the company will increase production to 7,200.
The planned boost is worrisome to some owners.
"Ferrari is known for its look, sound, its performance capability and how you feel when you're in it," said George Konig, a Ferrari owner who saved most of his life to buy his Ferrari. "Why would I want to feel like an Audi or a Porsche owner? I never want to. Dreams go on for years, savings go on for years, so when you finally have it you don't want to look like the one who's down the street."
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Marchionne said he is watching "like a hawk" to make sure the U.S. market is not oversupplied.
"You've got to be careful about limiting the ambition of Ferrari because its customer base is an expanding customer base," he said.