By Samuel Ee
*Shown above: The California, a 2+2 hardtop Ferrari convertible.
For the first time ever, Ferrari has listed a vehicle financing package in a rare advertisement to emphasise the relative affordability of its super sports cars.
Ferrari dealer Ital Auto yesterday took out a print ad in The Business Times to announce the arrival of its 2012 Ferrari California.
This 2+2 convertible, which can zip from zero to 100 kmh in 3.8 seconds, has been updated with an additional 30 horsepower and weighs 30 kg less.
In addition to these specifications, details of an "attractive finance package" were also stated. They included a deposit of $150,000 and monthly instalments of $5,999 or "low" interest rates of 0.88 per cent.
The Ferrari California starts from $758,000 without COE.
It is considered the "entry model" to the Ferrari range, which also consists of the mid-engined 458, the FF four-seater grand tourer and the upcoming F12 Berlinetta.
Italy's Ferrari famously eschews corporate advertising, although its dealers around the world have been known to place branding ads occasionally.
Other than those for used cars in the classifieds section, yesterday's half-page colour ad was the first for Ital Auto, which was appointed the Singapore dealer in September 2009.
Ital Auto general manager Andrew Howes said that Ferrari allowed it to run the new car ad because "local conditions are a bit different from those in Europe".
"Generally in Asia, Ferrari is now embarking on advertising programmes and the latest version of the California is the ideal entry vehicle to the Ferrari range."
Mr Howes said that finance schemes are "attractive for those who want an aspirational car". "Even at that price, we want to convey to prospective buyers that it is not that expensive, with reasonable payments for seven to 10 years."
The repayment period, he added, is the norm for Singapore where about 80 per cent of car buyers take a loan.
Ital Auto is partnering DBS Bank for this vehicle finance package.
Mr Howes said that financing for Ferraris is nothing new as Ital Auto has been doing it in the past. "We are not changing the financing model. We are just putting it across since money here is relatively cheap to borrow."
He added: "The important message is the relative affordability of our cars. The downpayment isn't too big and the monthly instalments are palatable."
Over at Lamborghini Singapore, managing director Melvin Goh said that he does not have such finance packages at the moment.
"For this level of customers, a bank will be happy to lend the money directly," said Mr Goh. "We don't have to arrange it for them."
Lamborghini has two models, the Gallardo starting from $818,800 and the Aventador from $1,488,000 - both without COE.
This article was first published in The Business Times.