The Unmasked Criminals
60 Years of thieving. Oops, I mean “60 years of passion”.
The world of the “supercar” used to be such an exclusive club, but ever since the economy became red-hot, companies such as Ferrari and others are now producing 1500 to 2000 vehicles per year. In the face of such great sales success these companies must do their best to keep up with not only production of these units; but new models as well, and as a result cheapening, platform sharing and cost cutting come into the spotlight.
However, the Ferrari/Maserati connection (or group) is the worst of all of them. They are robbing customers left and right and they don’t even need a mask in order to do so.
Quite simply the customers are about as gullible and eager as any trout catching a lure.
Now before we go on, I do realize that Ferrari no longer owns Maserati – but that’s not going to stop me from taking them down in a hail of gunfire too. Past sins and all that, despite what they are today.
When did this all start? Well, realistically it’s been in full strength over the last five years, but it appears Ferrari’s criminal marketing schemes go back as far as 1988.1988 was a substantial year for Ferrari as it was their 40th anniversary and to commerate that they decided to release a flagship exotic which we would later know that as the “F40”. Originally, all customers who placed deposits on the F40 were told “only” 300 units would be produced, but they overstepped that boundary a teeny bit. By the time F40 production stopped in 1992 they had managed to build 1,315. To my calculations that is 1,015 cars more than they said they would build. Therefore the originally exclusive F40 became the first mass-produced supercar. There must have been a few customers who realized the naked dishonesty that permitted this thieving here, but, of course the majority of customers probably didn’t give two thoughts about what had happened.
Why did this happen though? Enzo Ferrari himself said 300 would be made, but then ’88 was also the year in which he died. Perhaps after he died somebody managed to fiddle with the “production contract”. Although I’m not going to give any credit to Enzo Ferrari himself, after all, to my mind, he was a disrespectful and egotistical jerk in every sense of the word. His constant disregard for racing rules and his own drivers’ safety and well-being make him a less than admirable character.
Anyhow, the recent story starts when Ferrari released the “Enzo” flagship exotic in 2002. Although this time, Ferrari didn’t screw customers with over-production, or, did they? Well, actually there’s quite a bit of clever thievery here and it connects to Maserati’s “MC12” supercar.
As far as I recall, Ferrari was able to sell all 399 Enzo supercars within a few months, but of course not everyone that wanted one and had the money could have the pleasure of owning one. Before being able to purchase an Enzo, a “stipulation” in the purchase agreement required you to have previously owned, and be able to prove that ownership, of at least four 12 cylinder Ferraris. That’s right – I’m paying for a $600,000 supercar and I have to be chosen and meet this list of ancillary provisions of the company I’m giving money to? What the hell is this? A country-club application, where you need to meet a legacy requirement?
This is yet another example of Ferrari and the curious operation which they run. Yet it doesn’t stop there, because now we loop back around to the thieving.
Ferrari decided to loan Maserati a great deal of the “Enzo” so that Maserati can make a FIA homologation race car out of it. But as we well know, a homologation vehicle requires at least 25 road cars, so as a result Maserati redesigns the car and put that on the market. They manage to sell this exclusive bunch of 2004 MC12’s in little time, but it wasn’t long before they were up to their old tricks again. At the bottom of the press release Maserati slipped in the fact that they would be building another 25 customer vehicles in ’05.
When the MC12 came out you would have logically assumed with a price tag of 100k over the Enzo it would have been a better car. Or, just maybe, if not a better car, at least a car offering some significant advantages. No way! Instead Maserati borrows the Enzo 12 cylinder and actually reduces the horsepower and then to keep the Enzo as the flagship Italian supercar of the two companies Maserati further downgrades the MC12. This time they take away the digital tachometer for a normal (and cheap looking at that) analog tachometer. Furthermore they decide to not offer the MC12 with Brembo’s “Carbon Ceramic rotors” and lastly, they take away the adjustable shock absorbers found in the Ferrari Enzo. That means more for less.
In 2006 Ferrari decided to release another variant of the Enzo, the “FXX (this time a “track day” car). It doesn’t take long until Maserati does the exact same thing with the MC12 (hence the birth of the utterly ridiculous “MC12 Corsa”). With this quick renaming, it looks as if Ferrari was actually able to turn out around 600 Ferrari Enzos in total.
Want more? In 2005, Ferrari lifted the 8 cylinder from the Maserati 4200GT and modified it for the F430. Then, in 2006, Ferrari got even more mileage out of the Enzo V12 when they decided to use it for the “599 GTB Fiorano”. The universe of crimes is larger than this, but I think you get the idea.
Let’s face it, no car companies are without guilt when it comes to reproducing and cost-cutting through a quick re-label of the same basic car. But to consistently imply exclusivity within a certain production run of an already expensive car, either implicitly or explicitly, and to charge a premium for that exclusivity, and then brazenly make more of the same cars, thereby lowering the perceived value of the cars in question – that’s larceny in my book. Larceny, thievery, dishonesty, a canard, a lie, a falsehood – you take your pick. Ferrari stands out among the worst, if not the worst offender in this regard. When it comes to exotic manufacturers, Ferrari wouldn’t get a penny from my pocket. Give me a Porsche or a Lamborghini any day.