Ferrari's new 458 Speciale to sell for 238,000 euros
FRANKFURT, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Italian luxury carmaker Ferrari's new 458 Speciale will sell for 238,000 euros in its home market, and is aimed at clients who want a more extreme driving experience, Ferrari Chairman Luca di Montezemolo said on Tuesday.
"We've taken a step forward in terms of performance," said Montezemolo to journalists after the car was unveiled at the Frankfurt car show.
The Speciale is about the closest a driver can get to Formula 1 without spending one million euros for Ferrari's top-of-the-line LaFerrari. The Speciale boasts aerodynamic technology that has been borrowed from Ferrari's Formula 1 racing cars.
At speeds of over 220 kilometres per hour, flaps on the side of the car drop lower to help keep its front-rear balance.
The 605 horsepower V8 engine is the most powerful Ferrari has made to date, capable of reaching 9,000 rpm without a turbo charger. It goes from zero to 100 kilometers per hour in 3 seconds. The average mass market sedan or compact car takes from 10 to 12 seconds to do the same thing.
Ferrari's new Speciale highlights a growing divergence in the industry between surging demand for high performance cars in new markets, and stagnant sales for mass market brands in Europe like the ones sold by Ferrari's parent Fiat.
Fiat is focusing its energy and investments on relaunching luxury brand Maserati even as it delays investment in a refresh of its ageing Punto.
Fiat-owned Ferrari will spend 2 billion euros on research and development over the next five years not including its expenditure on Formula 1, said Montezemolo.
While Europe's mass market carmakers are forced to idle plants because of weak demand, Ferrari is cutting production in order to keep its cachet.
Montezemolo confirmed Ferrari's plans to cut production this year to 7,000 cars from 7,400 last year. He plans to keep production at about 7,000 cars in 2014 as well, he said.
"My goal is to maintain Ferrari's exclusivity as a brand, as well as the investment value of the cars," he said, noting that a Ferrari 275 GTB was auctioned in August for a record $27 million.
(Reporting by Jennifer Clark; editing by David Evans)