Ferrari boss Sergio Marchionne has confirmed that Ferrari is to build an SUV, but a production decision will not be made until at least 2020.

According to Bloomberg, Marchionne said: “We’re dead serious about this.” However, before a decision on the production level is made, Ferrari must “learn how to master this whole new relationship between exclusivity and scarcity of product, then we’re going to balance this desire to grow with a widening of the product portfolio”.

Marchionne has previously fuelled speculation by announcing that the Italian supercar maker will “reinvent the concept of a vehicle that has some utilitarian features”, suggesting that recent rumors of a Ferrari SUV are true, although the brand remains characteristically secretive about the model.

A question about a potential Ferrari SUV at the Frankfurt motor show resulted in a collective groan from Ferrari executives. Tech boss Michael Leiters said: “We have many projects, many concepts, but there is no programme and nothing has been confirmed.”

During Ferrari’s 2017 second quarter press conference, Marchionne stated: “I think that if we allow the Ferrari engineers to reinvent the concept of a vehicle that has some utilitarian features, I think the answer is: it will probably happen, but it will happen Ferrari-style. And Ferrari has been known historically for being able to redefine and define automotive segments. But I don’t want it to be a UV – I want it to be what Ferrari thinks is appropriate. But no decision has been made yet.”

Despite Marchionne’s comments, a Ferrari spokesman said at the time: “With reference to recent speculation in the international press, Ferrari will not be launching an SUV.”

It was reported in July that the long-rumored Ferrari SUV was still on the cards. Auto analyst Max Warburton claimed that the future model is being called an FUV (Ferrari utility vehicle) and does not have visible rear doors.

Last month, Ferrari’s commercial boss Enrico Galliera told Autocar: “We are not producing an SUV because an SUV is not a sports car – it can be fast, but it’s not a sports car. We are not producing a four-door because, while a four-door can be fast, it’s not a sports car.”

He added: “Ferrari has to remain consistent, doing what we know to do, which is delivering cars that are able to deliver emotion. Sports cars.”

However, Warburton suggested that it is a “question of semantics”, stating that while Ferrari management continues to tell investors that it will not build an SUV or a model with four doors, the rear doors will not be visible and will instead “use a cleverly hidden arrangement”.

The model, expected to launch in 2021 and cost about £250,000, would rival cars such as the Lamborghini UrusRolls-Royce Cullinan and Aston Martin DBX.

Warburton estimates that 2000-3000 units would be sold per year.

LamborghiniRolls-Royce and Aston Martin are far into development of their respective SUVs, while Bentley’s Bentayga already accounts for a significant portion of its sales.

While Ferrari continues to be evasive on the topic, a more practical model has huge potential for the brand, given the trend for high-riding vehicles and the popularity of ultra-luxury SUVs worldwide, particularly in the growing Chinese market.