Ferrari Releases Special Edition 458 Italia to Commemorate 20 years in China
Twenty years ago, Ferrari sold its first car in China - an order for its 348 TS from a buyer in Beijing. Since then, the fortunes of Ferrari in China have mirrored the breakneck economic growth of the Middle Kingdom, with China just last year becoming the 2nd largest market for Ferrari after America. With eyes toward the continuing growth of the affluent class in China, Ferrari is preparing a new monument to the brand's history and heritage, while rolling out a new special edition Ferrari for the Chinese market.
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In the next few weeks, Ferrari will be opening the Ferrari Exhibition outside of its China HQ, located at the Italia Center of the Shanghai World Expo Park. The Ferrari Exhibition commemorates a successful 20 year presence in the country, and it will extoll all things Ferrari. The 9,500 sq ft exhibit is scheduled to run for the next 3 years, although that can change depending on the popularity of the exhibits.
Ferrari is focusing the exposition on a few themes. The expo will glorify the design aesthetics of Ferrari cars, the history of Ferrari in China, as well as the green technology that Ferrari is introducing into its cars now and into the future. The exhibits will be made up of a combination of videos and other multimedia technologies.
But perhaps one of the most anticipated aspects of the exhibit is the planned release of a new special edition Ferrari, specifically designed for the Chinese market. The Ferrari, based on the 458 Italia, was first unveiled on September 15, 2009 in the Frankfurt Motor Show. It is is the successor to the Ferrari F430. It has also racked up a number of awards, including Auto Zeitung magazines "Best Cabrio of 2011" and Motor Trend's "Best Driver's Car of 2011".
The new 458 is getting a facelift before its official unveiling at the Ferrari Exhibition. The special edition model is going to be in a new color for Ferrari, Marco Polo Red. The front bonnet is going to sporting black racing stripes, with a golden dragon painted down the middle. The gold dragon on black racing stripes represents a fusion of Western and Eastern design philosophies, with the result being described as a perfect symbol for the love between Ferrari and its Chinese admirers. The black leather headrest will be adorned with the word "start" in simplified Chinese - perhaps a reference the dash of wealthy buyers reaching for their checkbooks.
Twenty special edition 458 Italias are going to be released in China. The company is hoping for a halo effect from this car, which will hopefully enhance the Chinese launch of the Ferrari FF - the company's first four wheel drive vehicle, and already a commercial success in Asia. Although the special edition 458 Italia's are only within reach of China's elite of the elite, its other vehicles still represent aspirational cars for the country's burgeoning business and political class.