Silk-FAW, the joint venture between Italian engineering startup Silk EV and Chinese auto giant FAW Group, announced last week that it has hired former Ferrari CEO Amedeo Felisa.

Felisa is an automotive industry veteran who spent 26 years of his career with Ferrari, where he served as CEO between 2008 and 2016.

At Silk-FAW, Felisa will serve as a special adviser to Silk-FAW's senior management team as the company prepares for a global expansion. He will specifically be involved in setting the global strategy for the company.

The goal of Silk-FAW is to develop a range of high-performance, high-luxury electric cars and hybrids for Hongqi, a historic Chinese luxury car brand owned by FAW Group. Cars developed by Silk-FAW will be sold under a new S series sub-brand at Hongqi.

Amedeo Felisa

Amedeo Felisa

The first model from the S series is the Hongqi S9 hypercar unveiled during April's Auto Shanghai 2021. It's a plug-in hybrid with a V-8 engine and combined 1,400 hp. Silk-FAW is short on details but the company claims the car will deliver 0-62 mph acceleration in 1.9 seconds and a top speed of over 250 mph. There will also be enough battery capacity for a small electric range.

The Hongqi S9 was designed by former Volkswagen Group design chief Walter de Silva, who has been hired by Silk-FAW to pen models to be sold under the S series sub-brand.

“I have always had a passion for performance cars and welcome the chance to work with Silk-FAW to develop the next generation of high-performance luxury automobiles,” Felisa said in a statement. “As we build high-quality, ultra-luxury sports cars for both the China and global markets, I look forward to working with the entire team."

While Silk-FAW is yet to sell any vehicles, Hongqi has enjoyed rapid growth since its reboot in 2018 as China's premier luxury car brand. In 2020 it registered more than 200,000 sales from its lineup of sedans and SUVs, or about double the amount Jaguar sold worldwide.