Saturday, 9 January 2016

Ferrari Test Drives for Tourists Are Annoying Italian Locals.

Push-Start was the first Ferrari test drive business to open in Maranello six years ago, but others have popped up since. (AP Photo/Marco Vasini)

The highly valued and much-desired Ferrari brand is at the center of a free-market struggle that has nothing to do with its successful Wall Street stock listing, its impending spin-off or even chairman Sergio Marchionne’s grand plan to command an even higher premium by transforming the super car maker into a luxury goods company.

Just outside the gates of the Ferrari Museum in the carmaker’s birthplace of Maranello, entrepreneurial spirit is clashing with communal concerns for safety and even decorum as a growing gaggle of unaffiliated, independent Ferrari test-drive businesses say they are fighting for survival amid tightening rules imposed by the city.

“We are entrepreneurs, and we are in a tourist town, and I can’t promote my business,’’ said Maja Corluka Valestri, owner of Pit Lane Red Passion, adding that the economic damage from the new rules was already evident. “We have lost 80 percent of business. I’ve already sent all the documents to my lawyer.’’

Related: Have a Need for Speed? Drive a Ferrari Through Scenic Park City

The test-drive businesses have been cashing in on the super car maker’s global appeal by offering aficionados without the wealth to buy their own hot wheels a high-powered spin “for the price of a dinner out,’’ as one business owner put it.

That translates to 80 euros for a 10-minute drive in a Ferrari F430 Spider. For a two-hour spin around the nearby hills in a Ferrari 458 Special, the check goes up to 1,400 euros. All test drives are accompanied by a trained race car driver, per uncontested city rules. While such businesses exist in cities around the world, from London to Paris to Las Vegas, driving a Ferrari around Maranello is an unrivaled experience for the true Ferrari fan.

Full story at Yahoo News.

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