Demand for high performance cars in Italy continues to drop

Article by Anita Panait, on August 16, 2012

With Italy suffering its fourth recession since 2001, local automakers -- especially those producing sporty and super cars – are also feeling the heat as local demand for such luxury vehicles continues to dip. Additionally, owners of these luxurious items have begun exporting their cars abroad, no thanks to domestic austerity measures and a crackdown on luxury goods. Giuliano Noci, the associate dean of Milan Polytechnic's business school, noted that while Italy is one of the strongholds of supercars, those vehicles are now “disappearing from the streets.” He further remarked that this has a “huge symbolic value” and shows how deep the crisis is.

According to auto industry group Unrae, the number of second-hand high-performance vehicles exported from Italy nearly tripled to 13,633 vehicles in the first five months of 2012, from just 4,923 units in the same period in 2011. The numbers are a solid proof that the overall demand for supercars in Italy is steadily getting weaker.

It is expected that the sales of super-luxury cars in Italy will drop 47 percent to 593 vehicles in 2012 from 1,116 in 2008, according to IHS Automotive, which further forecasts that the figure would not return to pre-crisis levels before 2016. The current Italian government headed by Prime Minister Mario Monti is implementing EUR20 billion ($25 billion) in austerity measures as Italy tries to cope with around EUR1.9 trillion of debt. The country’s economy has shrunk for four straight quarters, with the unemployment levels nearing a 13-year high.

With a new engine fitted inside it, the Ferrari F12berlinetta is able to offer performance never seen before. This is in addition to handling that is truly unmatched plus aerodynamics and design that are truly innovative. It is safe to say that the F12berlinetta brings with it a new group of Ferrari 12-cylinders. For fans of the brand, this is not a surprise as Ferrari has long been unveiling sports cars with 12-cylinder engines since 1947. Each time the brand has done so, it has always resulted in something truly magical. According to the brand, this could be because the 125 S, the very first model, had used a 12-cylinder engine. Or it could be that purists consider this engine size as the best one.

By introducing the F12berlinetta, Ferrari is signaling that it is entering a new period. At its Maranello facility, there have been number of 12-cylinder models made that have become part of automotive history. This is because of the technology fitted inside it and the results that it shows. In 1953 for example, the brand unveiled the 375 America whose engine was inspired from the single-seater F1 of the same period. By the 1960s, Ferrari revealed the 250 GTO which mixed performance with style. That said, it is impossible not to include the 1969 365 GTB4.

Nicknamed as the Daytona, the architecture was so well-balanced that it resulted in its very own unique driving sensations. No wonder many of the models, and even the engines, remain to be hugely pursued by many collectors across the globe. The simple reason was that each model the brand has released has become the symbol of a major leap forward. With the new F12berlinetta, that continues to be true.

In addition to being 12-cylinder mid-front model, it represented the first generation of these types of vehicles. While it is indeed the most high performance model to come from the brand, it is able to easily combine performance with efficiency. In fact, fuel efficiency and CO2 emission levels are estimated to be lower by 30% when compared to the prior generation. Ferrari revealed that for the F12berlinetta, the main hurdle that its technicians and engineers needed to overcome was to have a front-engined model that not only displayed excellent performance but also offered exceptional involvement and driving satisfaction even when running at low speeds.

Making this even more difficult is the fact that there was a need to enhance the 599 GTB Fiorano’s design, considered by many as the brand’s most beautiful model. Their determination and commitment though have managed to result in a car that is fitted with a mid-front V12 engine that can deliver output of 740 hp with torque at 690 Nm.

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Topics: italy, sales

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