Ferrari

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International marketing.

The gray Ferrari case.

Background.

Gray-market goods are items manufactured abroad and imported into the United States without the consent of the trademark holders. Although gray-market goods are not counterfeits, it may exist differences between them and the goods produced for U.S or North American sale. In 2001 it increased 15 percent the nonconformingvehicles imports and the number of registered importers also increased as a result. This means that there has been a significant increase in the number of nonconforming vehicles entering the United States, and that the ever-growing market gray market for automobiles (especially luxury models) emerged.

The interest in the gray-market of luxury models, in this case Ferraris, was the result of the lownumber of cars authorized for imports and the high value of the dollar from 1997 to 2002, it meant savings up to 30 to 40 percent. Nowadays the value of the dollar is not high compared to other currencies such as the Euro but the number of luxury cars authorized for import is still low. Only a select number of Ferraris are made annually, and the carmaker limits how many are sold through the U.Sdealers to about 1,000 units. If anyone wants to own a Ferrari, placing an order would have to wait over 2 years for delivery. The prices of these cars are between 200,000 to 300,000 dollars depending on the model. It means that they are high priced cars, and just owning one involves besides having a huge amount of money also a wait of 2 years if it is bought directly. But there are another ways toown a Ferrari such as getting one on the gray-market.

It is necessarily to conform to certain government standards related to emissions and safety in order to purchase a gray-market Ferrari. There are many obstacles in satisfying the rules of the Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance, and also nonconforming import cars have to be reported to it by registered importers on behalf of the buyers. In2002 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 23 registered importers who specialize in gray-market cars, nowadays that number has increased a lot since.

In 2001, Ferrari asked the Department of Transportation to halt importation of 2001 model Ferrari Modenas and 550 Maranellos until the company could prepare its objections to gray-market imports. Then, Ferrari stated thatgray-market imports differ from their North American counterparts in hundreds of ways and can’t meet the U.S requirements. Ferrari informed potential buyers that they must signed an agreement prohibiting them from reselling the car to anyone but their Ferrari dealer within the first year of ownership. Ferrari said that this action taken was to protect the company´s reputation only. But owners andimporters stated that was all about the control for profit. This means that the registered importers as well as owners disagree with the actions taken by Ferrari, and think that Ferrari’s goal is to control the market, ensure a monopoly, fix the prices and eliminate all competition. The actions taken by Ferrari had a negative impact on registered importers business.

At first the government wascaught on the middle of the controversy, but finally in 2002 it announced that Ferrari 360 and 550 passenger cars not originally manufactured to comply U.S standards are eligible for importation into the United States because they are similar to vehicles originally manufactured for importation into and sale in the United States, and also are capable to be altered to conform to the standards. Ferrariwas affected with this decision that the U.S government took.

People involved.

Robert L. Johnson: He was born in 1946, is an American businessman and founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET), and is also its former chairman and chief executive officer. In 2001 Johnson became the first African American billionaire, and the first black person to be listed on any of Forbes world's rich...
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