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With much of Europe mired in recession and seemingly ever widening debt crisis amongst member states, the very notion of spending exorbitant sums of money on activities like motorsport is coming under increasing scrutiny.
It seems true car enthusiasts, even when it comes to Ferrari owners often get the short end of the stick. With waiting lists of Maranello’s newest offerings often excessively lengthy, the simple fact remains that demand far outstrips supply.
As a result, a number of serious Ferrari aficionados and collectors have been making noise about how they simply cannot get their hands on the latest limited run special, enough in fact that the company’s CEO Luca di Montezemolo, is seriously looking at forming an ultra-exclusive Ferrari owners’ club. Said club would be designed to its give members the right of first refusal on any new limited edition model (as if getting a “regular” Ferrari wasn’t hard enough).
As to how this club will be set up, along with the criteria for membership, remains to be seen, though expect standards to be high, such as ownership of at least four or five existing Ferraris. We can already hear the violins playing.
[Source: Automotive News]
China has become Ferrari’s second largest global market, a not-so-surprising development in light of the global economic realities. The Italian automaker enjoyed strong growth in the first half of 2011, with global sales up 12 percent to a record 3,577 units between January and June. The company also saw sales revenue climb nearly 20 percent up to $1.5 billion.
Ferrari sales have vastly improved in markets like the Chinese mainland, Taiwan and Hong Kong, totaling 378 units in the first six months, up 116 percent from the same period last year. Ferrari is excited about its success and will enter 25 auto shows in China this year, more than double from last year. China still trails the U.S, where 939 units were sold in 2010. Ferrari Chairman Luca di Montezemolo said the sales momentum would extend into the second half as the company recently began deliveries of its four-seater, four-wheel drive sports car, the Ferrari FF.
[Source: Edmunds Inside Line]
Ferrari is aiming for global sales of 8,000 units within 8 years, unprecedented volumes for a sports car maker that has traditionally prided itself on exclusivity and the individual nature of their products.
Sales of 6,800 to 7,000 Ferrari cars are expected this year, with the Japanese market being the deciding factor. Ferrari sells about 400 cars per year in the country. According to Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo, the jump to 8,000 units will have to come from emerging markets. ”A lot depends on India, Latin America and China. There is growth potential there,” he told German magazine Auto Motor und Sport.
China, which will sell 500 cars this year (up from 300) is expected to be the 3rd biggest market for Ferrari, behind the United States and Germany.
[Source: Automotive News]
Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo expressed disgust regarding Formula 1′s new engine regulations, slated to come into effect in 2013.
According to a report by British network Sky Sports, the sartorially impeccable Ferrari boss said that the new turbo 4-cylinder engines are “a bit pathetic” for “the top class of racing”. “
Why couldn’t we have a V6 turbo?” asked di Montezemolo. “We should not confuse affordable with cheap. If there is the slightest possibility to delay the four cylinder, I will look for it. We see a chance. We need unity.”
Speaking to German magazine Auto Motor und Sport, di Montezemolo re-affirmed that Ferrari will never offer a 4-cylinder engine in its road cars.
[Source: Sky Sports]
Ferrari is notorious for their arduous buying process, where customers are given the privilege of waiting between one and two years before they can hope to purchase one of the Italian supercars. In recent years, this has caused frustration as new offerings from Porsche, Lamborghini and other automakers have served to entice potential Ferrari clients away from the brand.
Fortunately, Ferrari CEO Luca Di Montezemolo has recognized this detrimental effect, and told Autocar that he will be taking steps to change things. But feat not, Ferrari owners, as your residuals won’t be affected by the move. “We’re not talking about building more cars, we’re talking about building them quicker,” di Montezemolo said.
There will be no hard-core ‘Scuderia’ version of the 458 Italia says Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo, due mostly to the fact that the 458 is already so advanced and such an incredible performance machine. During a private press gathering in London last night, di Montezemolo commented that, “We will continue to produce one new model each year – but there will not be a 458 Scuderia.”
Afterwards, another Ferrari representative told AutoCar that while the Prancing Horse always strives to build more hard-core versions of models, currently it’s just not possible to see how the company could build a version that is significantly superior to the 458. In other words, it’s too awesome.
The key word here, however, is “currently.” Ferrari usually waits until the very end of its production cycle to introduce a hard-core model and so its likely that by 2016 or so enough advancements have been made to make the 458 Scuderia possible.
Recently spy photos did show what appeared to be a 458 Challenge model; a track only version of the 458 that is certain to replace the current 430 in the Ferrari Challenge series.
GALLERY: Ferrari 458 Italia
In an effort to meet increasingly strict emissions standards, Ferrari would be open to the possibility of building a V6 engine says Ferrari boss Luca di Montezelmolo. In an interview with AutoCar, di Montezelmolo was asked about a potential V6 powerplant for a future Ferrari model, to which the Ferrari CEO commented: “An engine smaller than a V8? Why not?”
Di Montezelmolo was clear, however, that emissions regulations would not trump Ferrari’s number one priority: building impressive performance machines. He confirmed that a V12 hybrid (previewed in the 599 KERS at the Geneva Auto Show) is in the works but said a production model could be four years away. Hybrid systems won’t, however, be a part of the company’s plans for its V8 engines. For those, he insists that continuing advancements in internal combustion technology will be sufficient to create power and meet CAFE standards.
While modern Ferraris are powered by V8 and V12 engines, the V6 engine does play an important role in the history of the Prancing Horse, notably in the Ferrari Dino.
Fiat chairman Luca di Montezemolo will step down from his primary position at the Italian automaker today ahead of a company restructuring that will begin tomorrow. He will, however, retain a position on Fiat’s board of governors and will remain the Chairman of Ferrari. Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne has announced he will draw out the automaker’s 5-year plan at that time.
It is believed Montezemolo is leaving the auto industry to pursue a career in politics. He first began with the company back in 1973 with the Ferrari Formula One racing team and will be succeeded by Fiat vice chairman John Elkann.
But Montezemolo’s departure is hardly the biggest shift in Marchionne’s 5-year plan, which is set to include a spinoff of the company’s automotive unit from its truck unit. According to a report by Automotive News, this spinoff will not only generate a cash infusion but would allow Fiat to focus on future alliances with other automakers. It has been rumored of late that Marchionne may be eying France’s PSA Peugeot Citroën as a possible partner or acquisition.
Yesterday Ferrari gave the official first showing of its new 599 GTO Supercar at a private event in Italy. Held at Modena’s Ducal Palace military academy, the new “Fastest Ferrari” was presented by company head Luca di Montezemolo, as well as chief executive Amedeo Felisa and vice-chairman Pierro Ferrari, the son of Enzo Ferrari himself. In attendance were 500 guests of honor, including cadets from the academy. At the unveiling Ferrari also announced that there was no need to reach for your wallet – as all 599 models have already been spoken for.
Limited edition Ferraris like this one always sell out and we can particularly see why with the 599 GTO. After all, as we already mentioned, Ferrari claims its the fastest prancing horse ever with a record setting 1:24 second time around the Fiorano test track. As for the GTO itself, well, Ferrari has equipped it with a version of the standard car’s 6.0-liter V12, making 670-hp at 8250 rpm and 457 ft-lbs of torque at 6500 rpm. Ferrari claims a 0-62 mph time of 3.35 seconds and a top speed in excess of 208-mph. Helping to achieve quicker acceleration is a reprogrammed six-speed F1 transmission with 60 ms shift times and the ability to drop several gears at a time. Ferrari engineers also focused on weight reduction, dropping the GT car’s curb weight to 3,538 lbs. Along with lighter bodywork, including thinner aluminum panels, the GTO also gets thinner glass, a lighter exhaust and transmission and an even lighter second-generation carbon ceramic brake setup.
New aerodynamic improvements were also made resulting in improved downforce but no more drag. New ducting around the wheels reduces drag, as do wheel doughnuts. A new front lip creates more downforce at the front axle, while new side skirts help streamline airflow under the body. It’s also hard to miss the new racing-style rear diffuser.
Suspension improvements have also been made with stiffer springs and rear anti-roll bar, as well as a second-generation magnetorheological suspension control system (SCM2). More importantly, Ferrari says the SCM2 setup works with a tighter steering ratio, VDC (Vehicle Dynamic Control) and the updated F1-Trac traction control systems to be incredibly responsive to inputs.
Also helping in the handling department are new 20-inch wheels, with wider 285 front tires. And what’s more important to getting the most out of the car than the driver? No, Ferrari doesn’t include your own Felipe Massa, but the 599 GTO does come with the company’s Virtual Race Engineer system designed for the 599XX. It constantly monitors all aspects of the car and is able to tell the driver how close to the limit he is operating the car.
Ferrari will give the 599 GTO its first public showing at the Beijing Auto Show later this month.
GALLERY: Ferrari 599 GTO Unveiling
GALLERY: Ferrari 599 GTO
For a video introduction to the car (dubbed over in English) see after the jump:
With the matte-green 599 hybrid concept on display at the Ferrari booth at the Geneva Auto Show, the Italian exotic automaker didn’t have a lot to say about it, but the company’s CEO did make an important remark about the future of Ferrari hybrids. Luca di Montezemolo commented that the automaker is looking to reduce emissions by up to 35 percent in the next three years and one way it intends to do that is to offer hybrid versions of all of its models in the next three or four years.
The 599 hybrid concept (Vettura Laboratorio HY Kers) is the start of what di Montezemolo called a long project, which is sure to include several updates before it becomes a full production model. The matte-green Ferrari uses a Kinetic Energy Recovery System to give the model an extra boost of electric power – making it an even higher performer. The lithium-ion battery pack for the hybrid system is located low in the car, improving its center of gravity, while not intruding on the passenger compartment. It is hooked up to a dual-clutch 7-speed transmission and adds at least 100 extra hp (as Ferrari insisted every added pound was offset by at least one horsepower).
The electric energy generated under braking also powers the car’s batter and its accessories, and allows the car to run on pure electric power at times (although Ferrari doesn’t say how far or for how long).
See more on the 599 Hybrid Concept after the jump:
Ferrari will show a hybrid concept at the Geneva Auto Show, based on the Italian automaker’s 599 flagship. Ferrari CEO Luca di Montezemolo made the announcement while unveiling the company’s latest Formula One race car. Di Montezemolo also stated that this prototype is slated for production but did not give any timeline.
Ferrari has been known to be working on hybrid technology, a fact the automaker couldn’t deny when patents for a hybrid drivetrain surfaced last year, however, company representatives have said hybrid F-Cars are not in the automaker’s immediate plans.
The 599 Hybrid concept is expected to use a kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) setup similar to the ones designed for Formula One, including a lithium-ion battery pack with electric motors built into the rear transaxle. This setup would allow for regenerative braking, a start-stop function and an electric boost capability to add even more acceleration to the 599’s already impressive 620-hp V12 engine. Under city driving it would also help improve mileage by 30 percent. That will be particularly noticeable on such a gas-hungry beast as the 599, which currently only gets 8.7 mpg, bringing it up to 13.8 mpg.
Di Montezemolo made it clear that that while in the past Ferrari lead the charge in getting race car technology to street cars, it now wants to be a pioneer in transferring the efficiencies found at the pinnacle of motorsport to the street.
Michael Schumacher has all but traded in his Ferrari red for the silver and black of Mercedes-Benz. According to Ferrari team president Luca di Montezemolo, the retired Formula One superstar told him in a recent phone conversation that there is a, “very, very, very strong possibility,” that he will be behind the wheel of a Mercedes F1 car next season.
Di Montezemolo even said that he had released the seven-time F1 World Champion from any remaining commitments to the Ferrari team, in order to facilitate a seedy and problem free transition to Mercedes.
Reports indicate that the only thing preventing Schumacher from joining Mercedes right now is the condition of his neck, which he injured last year in a motorcycle accident. Fractures from that accent prevented Schumacher from racing in place of Filipe Massa after he was hit in the head by a piece of debris during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Mercedes has said that an official announcement is expected early in the new year.
It’s almost not even worth reporting because it is so expected and so obvious, but here goes: Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo has reportedly confirmed that a roadster version of the company’s new 458 Italia model is on the way.
Surprised? We didn’t think so.
Before the 458, there was the F430 and its Spider variant. And before the F430 there was the 360, and its drop-top brother. And before the 360 there as the 355… See a pattern yet?
But don’t expect the 458 Italia Spider for at least a year or two.
And after that, you don’t exactly have to be Nostradamus to predict a striped-down, light weight motorsports-inspired version of the 458.
GALLERY: Ferrari 458 Italia, Frankfurt Auto Show
Sadly, Michael Schumacher will not return to Formula 1 this weekend, although there is a possibility that the 7 time World Champion will be back in 2010. Schumacher today posted on his personal website that he could not return to the sport after recent testing at Ferrari’s private track in Mugello revealed fractures in his neck from a motorcycle crash earlier this year.
“I am disappointed to the core,” wrote Schumacher. “I am awfully sorry for the guys of Ferrari and for all the fans which crossed fingers for me. I can only repeat that I tried everything that was within my power. All I can do now is to keep my fingers crossed for the whole team for the coming races.”
So with Schumacher out of the running to replace the injured Felipe Massa for this weekend’s race in Valencia, Spain, Ferrari was left to choose between two less than ideal candidates, Marc Gene or Luca Badoer. Gene hasn’t raced an F1 car since 2004, and it’s been a decade since Badoer last did. Still, today Badoer got the call from Ferrari head Luca di Montezemolo that his services were needed back in the big leagues.
Schumacher’s announcement, however, does not mean that a comeback is impossible; at least according to di Montezemolo who is pushing for a rule change that would allow Ferrari to run three cars in 2010, one of which would be piloted (at least in part) by Schumacher.
[Photo Credit: Kappakstur]
Ferrari has announced that it will auction off the rights to the very last F430 to roll off the assembly line and donate the proceeds to help citizens of the Abruzzo region that was devastated during the April 6th earthquake in Italy.
Rights to the car will be on the block at a special Ferrari-themed RM Auction this Sunday, however, the car itself will not be built until the end of the year.
The 490hp F430 will come with a special two-tone paint job using the traditional colors (red and blue) of Aquila, the city hardest hit by the earthquake. The owner will then be invited to the Ferrari factory in Maranello to chose the remaining options on the car. Ferrari has said it will toss in several pricey options from its Carrozzeria Scaglietti catalog.
The Italian exotic will come with a certificate signed by Ferrari Chairman, Luca di Montezemolo and a special dedication plaque.
This news also marks the first admission by Ferrari that F430 production will end this year, making the arrival of a concept to succeed the impressive exotic at the Frankfurt Auto Show this Fall almost certain.
Official release after the jump: