Detroit, January 5th, 2004 – Ferrari’s presence at the 16th North American International Auto Show in Detroit is particularly important for the Maranello company, not only because of the fact that the American event has been chosen – a first in the company’s history – for the international launch of a new model, the 612 Scaglietti. It is also a important because 2004 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the arrival of the first Ferrari GT in North America, which continues to be the top world market for the Prancing Horse. Half a century of solid sports and commercial cooperation and of a deep passion for the Brand that Ferrari has chosen to share with its US clients not only during the days of the Auto Shows but also through a special initiative which will last the whole year: inside each Ferrari sold in the United States in 2004 there will be a special plaque celebrating the anniversary.
From 1954, the year driver Luigi Chinetti imported the first road vehicle to the US, through today, Ferrari has achieved great sports and commercial success in this country, attracting the appreciation of customers and stirring the enthusiasm of Ferrari fans. This success story goes from the side-by-side arrival of the three 'reds' at the Daytona finish line in 1967 to Michael Schumacher’s victory last year at Indianapolis, and it covers everything from the records set by a production 550 Maranello at the TRC Ohio circuits in Columbus in 1998, to the numerous awards the most prestigious American publications showered on the Ferrari models in 2003 and again for its 2004 models. However, the year that has just ended marks a new record for Ferrari in North America – the eleventh in a row – also in terms of sales. In 2003, a total of 1,350 Ferraris were delivered to end-customers, for an increase of approximately 13% compared to last year and bucking the trend observed in a market segment that has shown a downswing in the United States. Ferrari’s main markets in North America are California, the Northeast corridor extending from Boston through New York and down to Washington, Florida, Texas and the Midwest, with Chicago and Detroit leading the way.
After winning the fifth consecutive world F1 title in 2003 and the fourth in a row with Michael Schumacher, Ferrari is ringing in the new year with its Detroit presentation of the new 2+2 twelve-cylinder model that’s the heir to the 456: the 612 Scaglietti, which will also be displayed on the same day at Maranello’s Galleria Ferrari museum. This innovative model is the perfect combination of the thoroughbred sports performance that is the hallmark of the Ferrari berlinetta and extraordinary onboard comfort for four occupants. This is the very first time that all-aluminum construction has been used on a Ferrari twelve-cylinder model – for everything from the chassis to the bodywork – and the outcome is a 60% increase in the rigidity-weight ratio. The mid-front engine layout guarantees exceptional weight distribution – 46% front and 54% rear – so that the center of gravity has been shifted as far back and as low as possible. This means a significant edge in the car’s dynamics when it comes to performance. The 65° V12 engine unites Ferrari’s state-of-the-art engineering technology with a maximum power of 540 HP at 7250 rpm.
Designed by Pininfarina, the 612 has been named in honor of Sergio Scaglietti, the Modena coachbuilder who created some of Maranello’s most stunning cars in the early years of Enzo Ferrari’s extraordinary adventure. Luca di Montezemolo thus decided to dedicate the new model to this low-key but important figure in the history of Ferrari.
Back at Maranello, work is being completed on the 'Formula Uomo' program to create a new Product Development Center and the new Painting Plant. The two plants, designed respectively by Massimiliano Fuksas and Marco Visconti for FIAT Engineering, will be inaugurated by the summer of 2004 and will operate alongside the new Mechanical Workshop, which went into operation early last year.
In 2004 new opportunities will come from the reinforcement of the Group on the emerging Chinese market and from the entry into the new and important Russian market.
Ferrari North America starts its fiftieth year in business in the United States with a staff that has been completely restructured, applying the spirit of the Ferrari Group that, as often emphasized by President Montezemolo, is based on professionalism and a passion for one’s work. Managed for a little over a year by Maurizio Parlato, President and CEO, Ferrari North America has a sales network of 32 dealers in the United States and Canada. Ferrari North America is headquartered in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, just a few miles from the place where Luigi Chinetti opened Ferrari’s first US 'atelier' back in 1954.
To be even closer to its customers and to guarantee that anyone who decides on a pre-owned Ferrari can be confident of purchasing a certified product, Ferrari North America has created the Ferrari Certified Pre-Owned Program for the United States and Canada. This program applies to the Prancing Horse models that Ferrari North America imports to the US and Canada, which must be no more than 12 years old and have less than 60,000 miles on them.
This fiftieth anniversary of Ferrari’s presence in North America kicked off on December 2 in New York with a sneak preview of the 612 Scaglietti for the network of dealers in the United States and Canada and Ferrari’s top North American customers. The celebration will begin at the end of January with the traditional Cavallino Classic in Florida, and will continue throughout the year with significant events at each of the major Auto Shows at which Ferrari will be present. They will culminate with the Concours d’Elegance at Pebble Beach in August, where Ferrari will be the Featured Marque. At this time, special events will also be organized in collaboration with the Ferrari Club of America.
The year 2004 marking Ferrari’s fiftieth anniversary in the United States also coincides with the eleventh American season of the Ferrari Challenge-Trofeo Pirelli. There are six events scheduled for the 2004 season, with a prologue for historic cars at the traditional Cavallino Classic held in Florida in late January. These events are Sears Point in March, Road Atlanta in May, Montreal in support of the F1 race and Mont Tremblant in June, Lime Rock Park in July and Laguna Seca in August. As last year, the weekends of the Ferrari Challenge in 2004 will again be an opportunity for Ferrari customers to bring their cars to the racetrack during sessions devoted exclusively to them. This is a perfect opportunity for full immersion – in complete safety – in the world of Ferrari racing.
For the eighth consecutive season, the Shell Historic Challenge will see historic Ferraris and Maseratis vying at some of the most prestigious American and Canadian racetracks. There are six events, five of which concomitant with the Challenge races: Sears Point, Road Atlanta, Mont Tremblant, Lime Rock and Laguna Seca. The seasonal debut is scheduled for late January at the Moroso racetrack in Florida, at the same time as the Cavallino Classic.
Ferrari will also continue a tradition that involved 51 of the most breathtaking cars in Ferrari history at the Rally of the Sierra Nevada in 2003. Thus, in 2004 Ferrari North America will propose two Rallies to its customers to give them a chance to drive their cars along some of the most stunning scenic routes in America. The first one will be held in Canada in June. The second one will be organized in Southern California and will bring Ferrari customers directly to Monterey for a fiftieth-anniversary celebration.