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Friday, April 20, 2012

Ferrari Design Overtones: Going, Going, Gone Asian? Part 3

(above: Ferrari 458 Italia -Dragon Edition, 1 of 20 units for Chinese market)

The sun does rise in the East and has been shining on Ferrari for years. In following suit with Aston Martin's Dragon 88 and Rolls Royce's Phantom Year of the Dragon edition, Ferrari, in a well-intended Maoist lockstep, steps up its game in a bid to further win over the burgeoning Asian market, namely with the cash-rife Chinese. After 20 successful years of sales in China (beginning with the 348 TS), Ferrari honors this milestone with 20 special editions of its latest mid-engined flagship 458 Italia.

If contemporary Ferrari Asian-skewed design overtones appearing in recent offerings such as the FF and F12 were not enough, it is the blatant evidence of targeted marketing to China that has revealed an obvious trend as the limited 458 Italia -Golden Dragon Edition overtly bids homage to the red and gold country. China is hot as Ferrari's passion races through the hallowed Silk Road  --leaving echoes of the 458's high strung, flat-plane crank, V8's intoxicating sounds, filling the fields and misty mountain passes of the continent.  

(above: Ferrari 312P Spider, 1969 S/N 0870)

No stranger to the color scheme, the stunning red and gold motif (first seen on the likes of the vintage Ferraris of the 1960s LeMans era such as the P3/P4, 312P, 512S, et al), is directly applicable to the tastes of the contemporary Chinese cognoscenti. Sprayed in a rare Marco Polo Red, the highly exclusive run of 20 units features a Chinese dragon atop the front panel, set within a gold and black racing stripe from tip to stern. The interior receives the same dusting of gold with embroidery and red carbon fiber appointments, including a dash plaque with inscriptions of Chinese characters. 

(above: interior appointments, Ferrari 458 Italia -Dragon Edition, 1 of 20 units for Chinese market)

Although evocative of the very American Pontiac Firebird hood graphic, the 458 Italia -Dragon Edition sends a clear message to the entire world of automotive enthusiasts --that China is the next territory to conquer, with money to be made. In that grand irony, too, the so-called "red" Statist-communism of China is clearly only conditional, with the capitalist trappings of luxury and wealth indeed part and parcel to its emerging future. Business is business. Paradoxes aside, nothing is really new in that regard and "hard to get" is what helps define exclusive branding. Few will ever own a Ferrari, fewer still a 458 Italia, and only 20 will possess the Dragon. Viva 法拉利 ! 

part 1 here:

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