Ferrari S.p.A. (pronounced [ferˈrari]) is an Italian sports car manufacturer based in Maranello. Founded by Enzo Ferrari in 1939 as Auto Avio Costruzioni, the company built its first car in 1940. However the company’s inception as an auto manufacturer is usually recognized in 1947, when the first Ferrari-badged car was completed.
Ferrari is the world’s most powerful brand according to Brand Finance. In May 2012 the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO became the most expensive car in history, selling in a private transaction for US$38.1 million to American communications magnate Craig McCaw.
Fiat S.p.A. acquired 50 percent of Ferrari in 1969 and expanded its stake to 90 percent in 1988. In October 2014 Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced its intentions to separate Ferrari from FCA; as of the announcement FCA owned 90 percent of Ferrari. The separation began in October 2015 with a restructuring that established Ferrari N.V. (a company incorporated in the Netherlands) as the new holding company of the Ferrari group and the subsequent sale by FCA of 10 percent of the shares in an IPO and concurrent listing of common shares on the New York Stock Exchange. Through the remaining steps of the separation, FCA’s interest in Ferrari’s business was distributed to shareholders of FCA, with 10 percent continuing to be owned by Piero Ferrari. The spin-off was completed on 3 January 2016.
Throughout its history, the company has been noted for its continued participation in racing, especially in Formula One, where it is the most successful racing team, holding the most constructors championships (16) and having produced the highest number of winning drivers (15). Ferrari road cars are generally seen as a symbol of speed, luxury and wealth.