SO the super sports car segment here is in the doldrums, with dealers of these million-dollar rides facing a double whammy of loan curbs and tax hikes. True?
Not for Ferrari, apparently.
The Italian prancing horse has managed to find 35 buyers for the new Ferrari 488 GTB, which starts from S$995,000 without COE. The majority of them have each put down a S$100,000 deposit for the mid-engined two-seater car, the first of which is due for delivery next January.
According to importer Ital Auto, the first orders were collected last November, with the bulk coming in following April's Shanghai International Auto Show.
This was after prospective buyers had travelled to China for the Asia Pacific premiere of the Italian supercar.
The company is also organising a test drive for prospective buyers in August in Shanghai and it expects even more bookings when that takes place.
Together with a demo car scheduled for arrival early next year, there could be as many as "20 more orders", according to an Ital Auto spokesman.
The 488 GTB replaces the 458 italia. This new Ferrari not only has sensational styling but also marks a new chapter for the brand with its turbocharged V8 engine displacing 3.9 litres (the 458 had a naturally aspirated 4.5-litre V8). Despite the smaller engine, the 488 has 670 hp, 100 hp higher than the 458, and 760 Nm of torque, or a massive 220 Nm more. It does 0-100 kmh in 3.0 seconds.
A left-hand-drive model is currently in Ital Auto's Leng Kee Road showroom. This car is on a tour of South-east Asia, having arrived from Kuala Lumpur late last month, before heading to Jakarta this weekend.
The success of the 488 is mostly due to two reasons: it is an attractive new model at an equally attractive price.
At S$995,000 before options, the Ferrari 488 costs less than its predecessor, which had a base price of S$1.06 million.
According to the Ital Auto spokesman, the new price is a reflection of the exchange rate. "The euro has dropped," he said. "We are not pricing ourselves lower. The 488 has the same base price around the world."
He added that the brand and product are important too.
"If all luxury sports cars have the same price, then Ferrari takes the lead with its branding and final product."
In the first six months of this year, the number of new Ferrari registrations was 29 units, according to the Land Transport Authority.
It was followed by Lamborghini (12 units), Aston Martin (3) and McLaren (3).