Business Maverick

Business Maverick

Ferrari unveils $423,000 sports car with 1960s bloodline

Ferrari unveils $423,000 sports car with 1960s bloodline
Ferrari has unveiled a €395,000 (R7.87-million) combustion engine sports car meant to help the Italian manufacturer defend its industry-leading margins. (Photo: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg)

Ferrari NV has unveiled a €395,000 (R7.87-million) combustion engine sports car meant to help the Italian manufacturer defend its industry-leading margins.

The 12Cilindri, also sold as a €435,000 Spider convertible version, is inspired by Ferrari’s touring cars from the 1960s and represents a fresh option amid several sold-outs. The two-seater shows off Ferrari’s ability to sell cars that on average cost four times as much as those of Porsche AG.

Ferrari has hiked prices and benefited from its wealthy buyers being less acutely affected by inflation and high interest rates. While the company has started to shift toward battery power, it’s relying largely on its highly profitable combustion engine vehicles to bolster margins. Unveiled on Thursday in Miami ahead of the Formula 1 Grand Prix in the city, Ferrari’s latest model features a 12-cylinder engine packing 819 horsepower.

Deliveries of the closed-roof version will start by the end of this year, with the convertible arriving in early 2025. A company spokesperson declined to comment on how many would be made. The car has the same cockpit style as the Purosangue, which Ferrari unwrapped in 2022 to enter the lucrative market for sport utility vehicles.

While the new model line demonstrates Ferrari’s continued commitment to combustion engines, CEO Benedetto Vigna has started to pave the way toward electrification. The Maranello, Italy-based manufacturer is building a factory to make hybrid and electric cars that will be ready next month and plans to unveil its first fully electric vehicle in the fourth quarter of 2025.

Read More: Ferrari Opens Cell Lab as Electric Supercar Race Heats Up

Competition to make the transition is intensifying. China’s BYD unveiled a 1.68 million yuan (R4.3-million) high-performance EV in February that’s meant to challenge Ferrari and Lamborghini. While both manufacturers have released hybrid models, Lambo’s own fully electric supercar isn’t due until 2028. At the same time, demand for EVs has been slowing recently, especially in Europe.

Ferrari’s F1 team, which will welcome star driver Lewis Hamilton in the 2025 racing season, and its reputation for quality have helped make it the strongest luxury automotive brand in the world, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. 

Ferrari is outpacing its peers for a second consecutive year, Joel Levington, director of credit research for Bloomberg Intelligence, said last month. “We suspect this trend will continue,” Levington said, “as none of the concerns about the broader auto industry—rising prices, increasing subprime auto loan delinquencies and the potential for write-offs of electrical vehicle investments—should vex the Italian sports car manufacturer.” 

Weighing 1,560kg, the 12Cilindri is styled like a berlinetta—“little saloon” in Italian—with a glass roof that swoops low in the back. A novel design in front replaces traditional headlights with a single wraparound band reminiscent of the Ferrari Daytona. With a top speed of more than 340km/h, the car can race to 100km/h in 2.9 seconds.

Ferrari said it developed software that can modify the maximum torque available as a function of the gear selected, giving the driver the feeling of smooth, progressive pickup as the transmission ratio increases.

“We were inspired by the gran turismo cars of the 1950s and 1960s,” said Enrico Galliera, Ferrari’s chief marketing and commercial officer, speaking at the buzzy launch event in a hangar-sized tent on the beach outside the Faena Hotel. “It was important to have a certain level of comfort because the races were 6, 12, 24 hours.”

“The car is the perfect explanation of Ferrari,” he said. “Tradition and innovation.”

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