The Ferrari stand at this year’s Paris Auto Show hosts the official unveiling of the stunning new Ferrari California, the coupé-cabriolet that has been the talk of the world media over the last several months. The car has been generating enormous interest amongst both those directly involved in the industry and the public at large as a result of a particularly innovative communications strategy which has seen it previewed in stages in a series of initiatives that have involved clients, members of the media and enthusiasts from all over the world.
The Ferrari California has attracted enormous attention because it is an extremely innovative car inspired by the spirit and driving pleasure of one of the great Ferraris of the past, the 1957 250 California. The new car joins the predominantly high performance 8-cylinder range and also flanks the 12-cylinder flagship, the 612 Scaglietti, in the Grand Tourer category.
The Ferrari California is a car with the track in its DNA. It brims with innovation and will more than fulfil the expectations of even our most discerning clients, offering breathtaking driving pleasure and fun behind the wheel as well as extreme versatility of use and in-car comfort. In line with Ferrari tradition, this model positively brims with innovative features. In addition to its retractable hard top and the original 2+ concept, the new Prancing Horse car also offers: a new direct injection V8 engine, a 7-speed gearbox with steering wheel-mounted F1-style paddles coupled with a new dual clutch, a new suspension system (double wishbones at the front and multilink at the rear), the new evolved F1-Trac traction control system and Brembo brakes with CCM (carbon ceramic material) discs as standard (this latter feature is shared by the other models in the current range).
Interestingly the web played a pivotal role in the communications strategy used to preview the California over the last few months. In May, Ferrari launched a dedicated website (www. ferraricalifornia.com) which featured a countdown to the publication of the very first photos of the car, and was updated periodically with information and interesting facts about the car. Visitors to ferraricalifornia.com were also able to watch the Ferrari California world preview live on September 18th thanks to streaming of the event.
The aforementioned preview took place simultaneously in Maranello and Los Angeles, and was attended by over 2,000 specially invited guests. At Santa Monica private airport, where the American event was staged in the presence of Ferrari Vice President Piero Ferrari, a special charity auction also saw a new Ferrari California sold for $520,000. The car was presented in Maranello by Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo who was flanked by Scuderia Ferrari drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa. Michael Schumacher was on hand too as he has been involved in the development of the Prancing Horse’s latest Grand Tourer since its inception.
Also showing at the Ferrari stand is a video directed by Michael Mann which was inspired by the emotion of driving the car in its natural habitat, the stunning coastal highways and roads of California.
Another important piece of good news from the Show is the announcement of the extension of the One To One Personalisation Programme to the 599 GTB Fiorano. The decision to extend the service to the most powerful 12-cylinder in our current range follows on from the success it has enjoyed since its launch in March for the 612 Scaglietti. 599 GTB Fiorano clients will now be able to visit the dedicated Atelier in Maranello where they can work with a Ferrari consultant on creating their own truly bespoke car.
Also on the stand is the F2007, which won the World Championship last season. To complete the range of road-going Ferraris, we also have the 612 Scaglietti, the Prancing Horse’s flagship GT, in a sleek Nero Daytona livery with Iroko interior. Of the 12-cylinders there are also two examples of the 599 GTB Fiorano, the most powerful berlinetta ever built at Maranello: one featuring a Rosso Monza exterior livery and Charcoal interior and the other an exterior livery in Blu Nettuno, an out-of-range colour, and Cuoio interiors. The sportiest Ferrari in the current range is the 430 Scuderia which is shown in the traditional Rosso Corsa paintwork combined with black Alcantara interiors. Needless to say, the F430 Spider, the very epitome of F1 technology transfer and drop top driving pleasure, is also present, this time in an elegant metallic Grigio Ferro exterior livery that beautifully offsets the Cuoio interior.Published 3 October 2008