Ferrari Eyes Greater China Market

 As European Sales Flatline, Mainland Looms Large In Carmaker’s 5-Year Plan 

The Ferrari display at the 2013 Shanghai Auto Show.

The Ferrari display at the 2013 Shanghai Auto Show.

Ultra-luxe Ferrari is the latest auto manufacturer to set its sights on China.

Earlier this week, Jing Daily wrote about the stream of international car companies – Audi, Tata, and GM among them – that are putting substantial resources into China through new mainland production facilities, research and development centers, and joint ventures. With the release this week of its new five-year plan, the Italian sports-car maker has joined the club. Sort of.

As reported in China Daily, Ferrari’s announcement does not specify new mainland facilities, but company chairman Luca di Montezemolo indicated that Ferrari will invest $329 million – more than half its five-year R&D budget – in emissions reduction technology, which will help the carmaker meet Chinese energy conservation and emissions requirements.

Beyond research, Ferrari’s China plan focuses primarily on sales and marketing, with stability and incremental growth – not skyrocketing gains – apparently the goal. Together, the Greater China and Far East regions currently generate 28 percent of Ferrari’s annual turnovers; by 2017, Montezemolo expects the number to rise only to 30 percent. By contrast, the increase in the U.S. market is targeted at 10 percent, which will bring that sector to 30 percent as well. Turnover in Europe and the Middle East is expected to decline from the current 52 percent to 40.

China’s current austerity campaign may be one reason for the modest five-year forecast – it is, after all, difficult to be “stealth wealth” about an ultra-premium sports car. Even so, Greater China is the company’s second-largest global market. Last year 784 Ferraris were sold there, more than 10 percent of global 2012 sales of 7,318. By the end of the year the brand will add three more mainland dealerships, bringing the Greater China total to 30.

“I’m satisfied with our market performance in China,” Montezemolo said in China Daily. “In the coming years we will put more effort into China, the world’s largest vehicle market, including training customers into making the Prancing Horse [the Ferrari marque] more favored by growing new rich.”


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