Ferrari cuts production to protect image

Ferraris are getting too common. Too common, at least, for comfort. So Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has announced that the company, owned by Fiat, will decelerate production - from more than 7,300 cars to under 7,000 - in order to protect exclusivity.

Could this be the start of a trend for certain high-end brands?

Too much bling?

Could be. A voracious appetite for luxury brands and assorted Western bling has seen some super-deluxe global brands become increasingly popular - and physically present - in some markets. Good for profits but not for exclusivity. You can't blame Ferrari for worrying.

"The exclusivity of Ferrari is fundamental for the value of our products," Montezemolo is quoted in the Telegraph. "For me, exclusivity is the strength of the brand. I don't like to speak of luxury. I like to speak of beauty and taste."

Porsche vs Ferrari

Oh really? Given that Ferrari and bling often travel hand-in-hand, it's dangerous to generalise. But with prices for a 458 Coupe starting at £178,461, a Ferrari remains out of reach for most. The maker of the prancing horse bonnet logo is also cushioned by merchandise sales which returned the company more than €50m in profits last year.

Roll back to 2000 and Ferrari sold a little more than 4,000 cars. Last year the figure was 7,318. That's an 83% sales climb, despite two downturns (the Tech bubble in 2001-2002 and the post-2007 debt crisis).

But Ferrari's decision has some question marks over it: for example, VW-owned Porsche remains solidly successful and is not cutting back on sales to protect its brand image. In the 11 months to November last year Porsche sold 128,978 cars, up from the 118,868 it sold during the whole of 2011.

How exclusive are you really?

BMW is another brand that is hardly cutting back on production. It's also getting into a lot more niches (while Ferrari hangs resolutely back, even refusing to look at electric car options).

However if you're really after four-wheel exclusivity, look to the Morgan Motor Company. "We will build 650 cars this year," a company spokesperson confirmed to AOL Money, "all of which are pre-sold."

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