Ferrari named world's most influential brand
Beats Coca Cola, Google, Disney18 February, 19:04
(ANSA) - Modena, February 18 - Iconic Italian sports car maker Ferrari has made a recent switch from gas-guzzling monsters to 'greener' versions of its supercars sweeter by topping the list of the 500 most powerful brands in the world for the second straight year.
Ferrari's logo of the black prancing stallion came ahead of Coca Cola and the London-based financial services company PricewaterhouseCoopers respectively in second and third place, with Google fifth and Disney 10th on asset-valuation company Brand Finance's annual brand-strength index.
The luxury motor vehicle brand is "instantly recognisable the world over, even where paved roads have yet to reach," said Brand Finance CEO David Haigh.
"Ferrari inspires more than just brand loyalty, more of a cultish, even quasi-religious devotion, its brand power is indisputable," he continued.
The Italian carmaker made it to the top spot for its desirability, loyalty, consumer sentiment, visual identity, online presence and employee satisfaction.
As well as gaining the highest score again, Ferrari was one of only 11 companies, including Google, Coca Cola, Hermes, Red Bull and Disney, to be awarded the ultimate AAA+ status in The Brand Finance Global 500 study.
Ferrari President Luca Cordero di Montezemolo said: "We are happy: despite the size of the firm we have done a good job in boosting the exclusivity of the brand".
The niche nature of its products, however, put the Modenese car manufacturer in 350th place in terms of brand value, with a value of four billion dollars according to Brand Finance.
Apple was once more the most valuable brand, the study found.
The rest of the top 10 brands were Microsoft, Verizon, General Electric, AT&T, Amazon, Walmart and IBM respectively.
The prancing horse got two other fillips Tuesday with the long-awaited opening of the Enzo Ferrari museum in Modena and the publication of record revenues, profits and cash flow in 2013 despite intentionally selling fewer cars. Net profit rose 5% despite a 5% fall in car sales.
According to the Financial Times, "Ferrari's success in increasing profits while lowering production runs counter to Europe's struggling mass-market car industry, wallowing in the region's worst car market for two decades, and underscores the clamour among manufacturers to increase their presence in the growing and lucrative luxury market".
"Despite fewer cars last year, we have improved all the numbers in the financial results," Montezemolo told the FT.
Ferraris will always be flaming red outside but they look set to become greener under the bonnet, the Maranello-based company says. The FT focused on the 1.2-million-euro LaFerrari, of which only 499 models have been made, the first road-going Ferrari to have more power than its latest Formula 1 car and its first hybrid model, which was unveiled at last year's Geneva Motor Show.
With a top speed of 350 km/h, able to reach 100 km/h in under three seconds, 200 km/h in under seven seconds, and 300 km/h in 15 seconds, LaFerrari eclipses the acceleration of the world's current fastest car, the Bugatti Veyron.
The car has lapped Ferrari's Fiorano Test Circuit faster than any other road-legal car Ferrari has ever produced.
The FT asked Montezemolo if the Italian company had "indeed managed to square the circle of an environmentally friendly supercar".
The Ferrari chief replied: "We see it not only as a car itself, but a platform on which to develop future technologies".
The FT commented: "What this means is that sooner or later Ferrari will build hybrid versions of its more affordable, more mainstream models". Just last week Ferrari launched a more eco-friendly version of its venerable and beloved California model, a turbocharged speed machine which also manages to combine superlative performance with lower emissions.
The Ferrari California T has set pulses racing in Italy and abroad.
BBC's cult TV show Top Gear hailed the climate-friendly innovations, saying: "Here's an exotic convertible with a proper V8 that sneaks out 250g/km of CO2 (based on Ferrari's own cycle, rather than the one used by other carmakers).
"That's about 15% less than its naturally aspirated predecessor".
Automobile Magazine said the California T, which premieres March 4 at the 2014 Geneva auto show, had "sharper edges and more aggressive exterior lines, in keeping with the car's boost in performance".
Motor Trend magazine said that, despite its lower emissions, the California T was still "the kind of car Tom Selleck would have liked to be seen driving around Hawaii in hit series Magnum P.I..
"It's a big-time performer fully capable of running from and chasing down bad guys on Oahu's volcanic back roads," the US trade magazine said.