FRANKFURT -- Ferrari has introduced a new "entry-level" supercar, while Mercedes-Benz is testing the segment's upper price limit as the two automakers vie for the world's most lucrative customers.
At the Frankfurt auto show, Ferrari presented the 196,000 euro ($234,000) Portofino -- that costs 3 percent more than the California, the convertible's predecessor. Mercedes's AMG high-performance subbrand is highlighting the Project One concept, which sports Formula 1 hybrid technology and will have a sticker price of $2.5 million.
The models are crucial to the strategic plans of both automakers. Ferrari is banking on the Portofino to help boost sales to 9,000 cars in 2019, up from a target of 8,400 this year, to help secure its independence as the industry grapples with the strains of shifting to electric cars.
AMG is critical to parent Daimler’s $12 billion effort to ramp up electric offerings by showing that cleaner powertrains can still be upscale and sporty.
Lamborghini is also wrestling with the changing dynamics in the supercar segment, especially as parent Volkswagen Group embarks on a $24 billion push to electrify its entire lineup. The first sign of that shift for the exotic Italian brand will come later this year with the unveiling of a model based on the Urus prototype, which Lamborghini teased in a video in Frankfurt as the world's first "super sport" utility vehicle. The model will also be the brand's first hybrid.
"The next step for Lamborghini will be for sure hybridization," Stefano Domenicali, the brand's chief, said in a Bloomberg TV interview. "But these iconic cars have to be different from others, so this is really the position we need to keep in order to keep alive the dream."