Ferrari Says Sales in Japan to Rise 30% as Abe Revives Spending

Fiat SpA’s Ferrari said sales in Japan will rise by 30 percent this year as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe seeks to lead the country out of 15 years of deflation.

The carmaker said sales will be boosted by an improving Japanese economy, Giuseppe Cattaneo, who heads Ferrari’s Far East business including Japan, South Korea, Southeast Asia and Australia, said in an interview in Tokyo. Ferrari, which showcased its 458 Speciale sports car in Japan yesterday, sold 302 cars in Japan last year, according to Maki Kataoka, a Tokyo-based spokeswoman.

Vehicle sales in Japan last month rose the most in 14 months, adding to signs of an improving outlook in the world’s third-largest economy. The Bank of Japan last week refrained from adding to unprecedented monetary stimulus after business confidence surged and Abe decided the economy was strong enough to weather a sales-tax increase.

“This new euphoria, that you can feel staying in Tokyo, related to Abenomics,” pushed up sales, Cattaneo said. “We have a good performance in 2013 compared to 2012.”

Ferrari sales in Japan increased 28 percent in the first six months, Cattaneo said.

Last month, Lamborghini SpA Chief Executive Officer Stephan Winkelmann said the automaker is very happy with Japan. “It’s coming back big time,” he said in an interview in Tokyo.

Deliveries of Lamborghini in Japan increased 13 percent to 142 units in the first nine months, according to Japan Automobile Importers Association.

Sales Tax Increase

Abe unveiled a 5 trillion yen ($52 billion) stimulus package to cushion the economy from any damage from the first consumption-levy boost since 1997. His stimulus plan will include tax incentives for home purchases and reductions in investment levies. Abe on Oct. 1 said the consumption levy will rise to 8 percent from April from 5 percent now.

The increase in sales tax will have limited impact on demand in Japan, according to Cattaneo.

“It’s only impacting the psychology in the short term because the absolute rise is not big,” he said. “The momentum will maintain no matter the addition of a small amount of consumption tax.”

Other luxury carmakers are also benefiting from Abe’s drive to revive the economy. Maserati’s sales rose 16 percent to 278 units in the first nine months. While premium brands Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, Volkswagen AG’s Audi and Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz posted growth of more than 10 percent in the same period, according to the car importers association.

Southeast Asia

Ferrari opened a regional head office in Singapore this year to expand in Southeast Asia, Cattaneo said.

“This is a heavily taxed region and every country has different tax structures,” he said. “So it’s not easy.”

The carmaker plans to enter Vietnam, the largest market in the region where Ferrari doesn’t yet have a presence, he said.

The Italian manufacturer unveiled in Japan the 458 Speciale sports car, first shown at the Frankfurt auto show last month. The 605-horsepower model, which the company called its most aerodynamically efficient production car ever, accelerates to 100 kilometers per hour in as little as 3 seconds.

Equipped with a V8 engine, the 458 Speciale will be priced at 32.9 million yen. Production of the car will start next year, Cattaneo said.

The cheapest Ferrari model available in Japan, the California 30, starts from 23.9 million yen.

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