The 2004 Geneva Motor Show will be an exciting one for Ferrari with several unveilings. In addition to the European launch of the new all-aluminium 12-cylinder 2+2, Stand 1053 in Hall 1 will also be hosting the world previews of the new GTC Handling pack for the 575M Maranello, and the new Challenge Stradale-inspired personalisation options for the 360 Modena and Spider.
The GTC Handling pack for the 575M is also the first to offer carbon-ceramic brake discs, already adopted on the Enzo and the Challenge Stradale, for a front-engined Ferrari, and represents a further evolution in the strong personality of the Maranello.
As is clear from its name, which refers to the transfer of the handling characteristics of the version used in the FIA-GT Championship to the road-going model, the GTC Handling option offers an even more thrilling driving experience, thanks to its new track-derived components.
Apart from the effectiveness of the new brakes developed in collaboration with Brembo, this is a further development of the Fiorano handling package (special springs and anti-roll bars, lowered ride height, upgraded power steering), with additional advances in electronic suspension control.
The new personalisation option also includes an exhaust system with an even deeper, characteristic rumble, newly designed exhausts, coloured brake callipers featuring the 'Brembo Carbon Ceramic' logo, and modular 19" wheels fitted with special Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres (255/35 ZR19 front and 305/30 ZR 19 rear).
This combination of advanced new components offers drivers even headier performance from an already firm favourite with devotees of the Maranello 12-cylinders.
With regard to the 360 Modena and Spider, Ferrari is also using the Geneva Show to unveil a new Racing exhaust and carbon kit (specifically on the 360 Spider), developed to offer customers yet another personalisation choice. Both components are derived from the Prancing Horse’s experience with the Challenge Stradale.
These road-going model-oriented innovations are being unveiled at Geneva in the same week as the 2004 Formula 1 season gets underway in Melbourne, Australia. The Ferrari Marlboro team comes to the grid this season as the holder of the Constructors' World title (2003 brought Ferrari’s 13th championship title and the fifth in succession), and with Michael Schumacher as the reigning Drivers' World Champion for the sixth time in his career, the fourth in succession with Ferrari.
Showcased on January 26th at Maranello, the F2004 will be defending the colours of the Scuderia from the very first race of the season. Once again, it will be in the capable hands of Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello, supported by Luca Badoer, Ferrari's official test-driver for the seventh consecutive year. Over 5,000 kilometres of tests went into the development of the new single-seater in February alone in the run-up to a Championship that promises to be very thrilling indeed, with almost all of the world's leading constructors vying to snatch Ferrari’s crown.
2004 promises to be a particularly important year for the Ferrari Maserati Group as a whole, in terms of its new sales presence in the Russian market and its growing position in the Chinese one. Both Prancing Horse and Trident models will be racing through Sweden, Finland and the cities of St Petersburg and Moscow in the third week of March as part of a 10,000-mile rally through north-east Europe in very difficult driving conditions, while June 5th will see the official opening of the new showroom in Shanghai. The move into Russia brings to 46 the number of world markets in which Ferrari operates directly, via a strong network of over 200 dealers. This highlights the specific yet constant growth of the marque’s presence across the world, a fact that has gone hand in hand with the astonishing track victories and impressive sales records it has delivered over the last decade.
Ferrari is also extending its activities in the Licensing and Merchandising sector with the opening of the new Ferrari Store in Rome and the Ferrari Shop at Malpensa Airport, Milan, in late March-early April. The opening of these two new sales outlets comes in the wake of the success of the Ferrari Store in Maranello and the Ferrari Shop at Bologna’s Marconi Airport, and is part of the plan announced two years ago by President Luca di Montezemolo to open Ferrari Stores and Shops in the world’s leading capital cities and airports. Ferrari also recently signed a series of major agreements which will further enhance its quality partnerships in the development of products under licence for the main market segments. The agreements range from those with well established partners such as Mattel, Electronic Arts, Tod's, Girard-Perregaux and Fila, to more recent additions such as Olympus, Lego, Montegrappa and Acer.
The Ferrari Maserati Group expects to close the 2003 business year with a consolidated turnover of approximately 1,260 million Euros, with an increase of 4% over the previous year. However, its operating profit is expected to drop somewhat as a result of changes in exchange rate with the dollar and significant investments made in developing the Maserati range.