SUSIE GHARIB: And finally tonight, it’s been a tough few years for many companies,
given weakness in the global economy. But one auto maker has seen sales
surge to unprecedented levels. Erika Miller takes a closer look at why
Ferrari is going full speed ahead.
ERIKA MILLER: Ferraris are the ultimate status symbol. But from the start
of the company in 1929, every car has been designed to race. Even today,
every Ferrari on the road can hit 200 miles per hour. I couldn’t wait to
take a test drive with North American CEO Marco Mattiacci. My first shock –
– no more stick-shift cars in the U.S.
MARCO MATTIACCI, PRESIDENT& CEO, FERRARI NORTH AMERICA: We realize
that really very few customers were asking for this, so it’s not worth it.
MILLER: Driving along Park Avenue, we passed several luxury car
dealerships like Mercedes and Audi. But Ferrari is in a different price
league. Its entry-level car, the California, starts at $200,000.
Customizing it usually adds on another 40 grand. How has the mindset of
the affluent consumer changed as a result of the financial crisis?
MATTIACCI: People try to have a much more cautious approach to
spending on luxury.
MILLER: Ferrari sold over 7,000 cars last year. That may not sound
like a lot, but remember, these are cars with six-figure sticker prices.
JEREMY ANWYL, VICE CHAIRMAN, EDMUNDS.COM: These are not necessities,
these are very emotional purchases. And car buyers who have the ability to
buy Ferraris are really motivated by what’s new.
MILLER: Ferrari’s strength is its frequent introductions of new
models, including the X12 yesterday. So what is the company’s
ANWYL: One of the demands, in the future, I think is going to be for
vehicles to be more fuel efficient. I think that’s going to really force
them to think about performance perhaps in a more holistic way.
MILLER: After testing out that performance, Mattiacci showed me
around the Ferrari showroom, which is part retail store, part museum. He
wanted to show me the 458 Italia, which currently has a two-year waiting
list. Is that common, to have a waiting list for a car?
MATTIACCI: No, not at all. But it’s very common for Ferrari.
MILLER: We also looked under the hood of the FF, the same model
I test drove.
MATTIACCI: It’s what we call art, design, a fantastic engine. This
car can be used in all the kind of weather conditions.
MILLER: Although it bears no resemblance to an SUV, the FF is
actually an all-wheel drive vehicle with room for a family four. So maybe
you are wondering what I thought of my test-drive. Well, clearly, the
Ferrari was fun to drive. But at $300,000, it’s not coming home with me.
Unfortunately, even the smaller die cast versions are outside my budget at
$388 apiece. But I don’t feel too bad- – Marco Mattiacci doesn’t have a
MATTIACCI: I have three children, twins three months and a daughter,
a wife, so sometime I drive a Jeep Grand Cherokee (NASDAQ:CHKE).
MILLER: That won’t stop both of us from dreaming. Erika Miller,
NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, New York.