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You’ve got to hand it to Ferrari’s chairman, Luca di
Montezemolo. In the first quarter of 2013, Ferrari sold 1798 cars, a relatively
modest four per cent rise on the same period last year. But that equates to a
36.5 per cent jump in net profits, to €56.7m. No brand is more premium than
Ferrari, and that’s what you get when you keep an intensely beady eye on things.

Montezemolo resisted the gold rush in the
mid-noughties, when Ferrari could have comfortably increased production to
10,000 cars per annum. Now, in a drastically less favourable economic climate,
he’s planning to reduce the number of cars Ferrari makes, though he insists
that this decision is based, not on continued global economic unpleasantness,
but to preserve one of Ferrari’s core assets: exclusivity.

‘This is paramount,’ he told after
addressing a huge media gathering in Maranello. ‘We will make fewer cars than
the market demands. I want to make more special series cars, more one-offs, and
more tailor-made cars, although our main thrust will always be the GT road
cars. My 12-year-old daughter could take a reservation for a Ferrari. It is
important for our dealers to learn to grow working in quality, not just
quantity. A Ferrari is like a beautiful woman, you must desire her.’ (He later
expanded on that analogy, but we’ll leave it there.)

Despite pegging production back to around 7000 cars –
excluding the 499 LaFerraris that have been sold – 250 new jobs will be created
in Maranello, primarily to help manufacture the newly developed V6 and V8 units
in the Maserati Quattroporte and Ghibli. The existence of these cars, along
with the upcoming Levante, Montezemolo says, quashes on-going pressure to
create a four-door Ferrari or an SUV. On the matter of a Ferrari flotation, a
rumour that will persist as long as parent company Fiat struggles, Montezemolo
is bluntly emphatic: ‘No, no, no!’

Ferrari has also appointed Andrea Perrone, the former
CEO of luxury shirt maker Brioni – which had a long-standing deal with Bond
producers Eon to supply 007 on screen – to overhaul its often criticised
merchandise range. Perroni insists that Ferrari can reconcile its affordable
fan gear with its vastly more expensive new Pr1ma line, Italian-made clothing
that he says is so consistent with the brand that it need not even bear the
famous Prancing Horse logo. These spin-offs currently add around €50m per year
to Ferrari’s bottom line, ‘but [the company] is not going to become a retail
company manufacturing T-shirts,’ Montezemolo says.

And ahead of this weekend’s Spanish GP, he refuses to
be drawn on the departure of Lotus F1’s highly rated technical director James
Allison. Allison, who was at the Scuderia from 2000 until 2005,  is thought to be today finalising the terms
of his return to Maranello. ‘It is a rumour,’ says Montezemolo, ‘and I have to
deny it. We will communicate when there is news to say.’ The man who is known
to have destroyed flat-screen TVs when a race slips away from Ferrari professes
to be largely happy with the way the 2013 season is unfolding.

‘I am a typical Italian: very superstitious. But this
season our car is very competitive. What I can definitely say is that I don’t
want to lose [the championship] in the last race. I am delicate. At my age I
have to protect my heart…’

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