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Old 12-23-2008, 12:26 PM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default Report: Insider reveals trouble brewing at Ferrari





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MARANELLO, Italy — The Formula 1 tie-up between Ferrari and Tata has made headlines, but it is actually just a more high-profile continuation of a relationship already in place.

In addition to the personal friendship of respective company chiefs Ratan Tata of India and Luca Cordero di Montezemolo of Fiat and Ferrari, Tata has been a Formula 1 partner of Maranello for three years via Tata Consulting Services. It has been a low-key relationship in which Ferrari has used information technology developed by Tata, with a team of Tata engineers present at every race during the season. Now Tata is taking a larger role as a key sponsor of the F1 scuderia, with a three-year contract for their increased partnership.


"Ferrari by now is a professional bank," says a source in Maranello who agreed to be frank with Inside Line on a promise of anonymity. And indeed, neither Ferrari nor mother company Fiat have resorted to government aid since Montezemolo and Fiat Group CEO Sergio Marchionne have been at the helm. Instead, they have built an enviable network of marketing sponsorships, industrial partnering and merchandising. The source told IL that the Tata arrangement includes "the upped F1 money invested, plus additional monies for as-yet-undisclosed purposes."



One might look at the agreement as a sale of a percentage of Ferrari to Tata directly, much like the 5 percent of the overall company currently owned by the Abu Dhabi investment group (not to mention the Ferrari theme park opening there soon). In addition, Tata has the contract to build the Fiat Grande Punto and Linea cars for the Indian market.


Some observers have hypothesized that Tata could replace Marlboro as Ferrari F1's number-one sponsor, especially since cigarette advertising is prohibited on cars or uniforms at most race venues. Reportedly, though, the Tata sponsorship will appear only as the corporate logo — not the name "Tata" — on the car and clothes. At present, Marlboro's $25-million-plus deal ensures no other sponsor can take its place there.


Meanwhile, there have been reports that Ferrari is in a delicate state, despite an announcement earlier this week by the automaker that it has had its best sales year to date. Our source has a different point of view, telling IL: "All is not well. The 612 Scaglietti has apparently stopped mainline production, and F430 orders have been hurt hard by the launch of the California."


While 599 GTB Fiorano orders are still reportedly sold out for a couple of years, reports have trickled out that all future Ferraris have been put on a later timeline until the world economy improves.


Last week Maserati, Ferrari's fellow semi-autonomous company within the Fiat Group, announced it will cut 2009 production from about 10,000 units to 6,000 because of low demand and said it won't renew the contracts of 112 workers that expire on December 31. The immediate reaction by the workers' unions was to call a one-day wildcat strike in protest.


There has been a lot of talk of 300 layoffs happening imminently also in Maranello. Whether or not this comes to pass, observers in Italy believe Ferrari will need to cut staff aggressively after the first quarter of 2009.


Inside Line says:



Even the golden companies look a little less shiny these days. Look for lots of strikes all'italiano in both Modena and Maranello starting in April 2009. And those famous two-year waits could turn into three years. — Matt Davis, Correspondent
http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/News/articleId=138386

An anonymous inside source has contradicted claims that Ferrari is holding up fine during the global financial crisis, claiming that things are not as rosy as the Maranello automaker would have us believe. According to the source, mainline production of the four-seater Ferrari 612 Scaglietti has been halted among other issues.

The insider also revealed to Edmunds that the newly launched entry-level California model has caused sales of the F430 supercar to drop significantly, although the 599's order books are still filled for the next couple of years. Rumors that Ferrari may have to lay off around 300 or so workers soon are still circulating, and analysts are predicting that Ferrari will have to cut back staff in 2009 in order to slash costs.

Additionally, the anonymous insider spoke of Ferrari's new sponsorship deal with Indian conglomerate Tata. Tata's involvement with Ferrari has been known for some time, and the company routinely sent a team of engineers to every F1 race this season. The ties between the two companies also stretch beyond motorsports, and the head of Tata, Ratan Tata, is also already heavily involved with Ferrari’s parent company Fiat, joining the Italian carmaker’s board back in 2006 after he was recommended by the Agnelli family. Tata and Fiat are already tied up over an engine supply deal, and Tata is contracted to build the Fiat Grande Punto and the Fiat Linea for the Indian market.

While there has also been talk of Tata taking over Marlboro's position as Ferrari's number one sponsor, other reports have countered those rumors, claiming that the Tata name will not appear anywhere on Ferrari F1 cars, racing uniforms or merchandise, but rather the company's corporate logo will be seen.

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Old 12-23-2008, 01:39 PM   #2
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so wait, marlboro spends $25 mill a year and cant have their logo on the car or uniforms?
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Old 12-23-2008, 01:51 PM   #3
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I have absolutely no sympathy for a company that sells cars in excess of $100k and has orders booked for years in advance and is somehow (possibly) in financial trouble.
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Old 12-23-2008, 03:04 PM   #4
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THe mosst disturbing thing in that articles is that India gets Fiats and we don't.
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Old 12-23-2008, 06:39 PM   #5
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Ferrari should just say "ta ta" to them
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Old 12-23-2008, 06:41 PM   #6
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I have absolutely no sympathy for a company that sells cars in excess of $100k and has orders booked for years in advance and is somehow (possibly) in financial trouble.
that list is a fake marketing trick to increase demand. Its like putting a rope around an empty space in a night club, and calling it the VIP section.
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Old 12-24-2008, 01:57 PM   #7
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that list is a fake marketing trick to increase demand. Its like putting a rope around an empty space in a night club, and calling it the VIP section.
I was offered an f430 (non-Scud) of my choice at MSRP for x-mas by my friendly neighborhood Ferrari dealer. It's going to be a tough sell when lightly used coupes can now be had for 150, and spyders for 170.

However - new 599's, California's, and Scud's are still off limits to 1st timers like me.
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Old 12-25-2008, 02:06 AM   #8
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so wait, marlboro spends $25 mill a year and cant have their logo on the car or uniforms?
yep. several countries have banned tobacco advertising. So Marlboro has resorted to the red white combination instead (bar code).
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Old 12-26-2008, 04:16 AM   #9
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THe mosst disturbing thing in that articles is that India gets Fiats and we don't.
Disturbing....to Indians.

Marlboro doesn't have to have their name displayed, it's one of those things that you know even though you don't see it.
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Old 12-26-2008, 10:47 PM   #10
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That car looks to "cute" to be a Ferrari
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Old 12-27-2008, 01:22 PM   #11
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so wait, marlboro spends $25 mill a year and cant have their logo on the car or uniforms?
Ummm yeah same for Mitsubishi, Pug and i think they had a world touring car team under there banner as well with no obvious logo.

Same for Rothmans too.
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