Ferrari California – The new Cavallino Rampante!

Published on July 10th, 2009

Traffic was invited to cover the launch of the new convertible Ferrari California brought here by the official importer and distributor Naza Italia, and us being ourselves, we simply couldn’t resist to attend.

Not that we have the money to buy the car, but to simply watch and drool over the car is enough for us, at least for the time being before we’re successful with our world domination plan (we’ll be recruiting soon).

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Present during the launch was the man of Naza Italia himself, SM Faisal Tan Sri SM Nasimuddin, Naza Group’s Joint Executive Chairman and CEO of Naza Italia and Matteo Bonciani, Director of Communications Ferrari Asia Pacific.

The Californification was completed by SM Faisal while being accompanied by top Ferrari Executives from Ferrari Asia Pacific HQ.

We mentioned the Ferrari California in our previous article (Speedy Beauty Ferrari California) and like we said, the car comes with a completely new 7-speed dual clutch transmission to ensure smoother gear change and redesigned suspension system. For the likes of you and me, that means the car is much more comfortable to drive than the hard-banging F430, which focused more towards performance-only area.

The California is a new benchmark that Ferrari has come up with to make Ferrari as comfortable to drive as any other lesser competitor, but without sacrificing the needs for sheer power and brilliant maneuvering capability that every Ferrari has to offer.

“California is a car that is being targeted for a somewhat different clientele, notably to those who desires an everyday car but is still able to offer characteristics to that of a performance car and a grand tourer. This is a new target market for Ferrari. These drivers is quite different from most of the current owners who would go for a performance based machine being driven occasionally for leisure especially during the weekends and holidays,” said SM Faisal.

But one has to ask the question which could be burning in everyone’s head; is this Ferrari’s direction? Is Ferrari focusing more on the broader market, which is to say that are they planning to build sedans after this?

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Matteo Bonciani said, “No. The California was designed to stand right in the middle. It sits right in between high performance and comfort, which means the driver will still be able to enjoy everyday live but with a choice of unleashing a little bit of this and that with the new V8. So, no. We’re not looking towards that sort of market, like sedan, four doors, rockets and all that. We are of a niche market, and we cater for those success story with a taste of high performance and a desire for comfortable driving experience.”

“Let’s not forget that this is still a Ferrari. If you can see that Prancing Horse logo on the front of the car, it means the car is able to provide a sense of performance that you simply cannot get from any other car. And with the added comfort, that is the incredible potential of this car.”

“Of course, there are no better ways of enjoying a Ferrari than driving it on the track. You have a beautiful track here in Sepang, and with our advance driving program, of which we will teach you every little secret of the car, your only option is to enjoy driving the California.”

So when can you pass us the keys?

On the corporate side, Ferrari regards the Asia Pacific region as an important market, as it comes with more than 1,000 sold Ferraris running around in 2008 (exact figure is 1,089).

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“We believe that the introduction of the California will further boost Ferrari’s total market share,” said SM Faisal. “Naza Italia is fully committed to enhance the brand with various investments already put in place in terms of facilities, human capital and various marketing programs to compliment the lifestyle of Ferrari owners in Malaysia.”

Among the programs currently available are factory visits, Pilota courses (advance driving), motor shows and track days in Sepang International Circuit.

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Customers may also request for out-of-range colours and customisations to ensure their Ferrari California is absolutely unique to reflect their identity and taste. Does it come in green?

If you need more hands-on preview of the car you can print out this page and hug it you can head over to Naza Italia lifestyle centre in Petaling Jaya as the car is already available for public viewing starting from the 10th this month. Samples of various materials and virtual configuration are also available. We recommend bringing a friend or two to stop you from stealing any of the materials.

The showroom is open from 10am to 6pm on Monday to Saturday and from 11am to 4pm on Sundays. The California is priced at RM1.7m to a limit you’ve set for splendour. For private viewings and appointment, contact Naza Italia at 03-7956 8599 or 03-7960 3302 (fax) or head over to Ferrari Malaysia.

text: Syawal Ahmad  pix: Syawal Ahmad & Ferrari

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