When the DeTomaso Mangusta made its North American debut at the Los Angeles auto show this month, visitors to the DeTomaso Web site already had previewed the stylish sports car - and might even have been contacted by sales associates eager to take orders for the sleek, $80,000 two-seater.
'We reconstructed our Web site ... to include new animation and information in Italian and German,' says Cynthia Claes, a DeTomaso spokeswoman.
DeTomaso Automobiles Ltd. expects U.S. sales to account for about 60 percent of the anticipated 700 Mangustas that Qvale Automotive Group in Modena, Italy, began buildinglate last year. The car features the patented Rototop, which allows drivers to switch between a roadster or targa look. The Mangusta comes in 10 colors.
The usual buyer demographics for such limited-production, performance exotics:
An annual household income of $150,000 or better
Likely buyers are 35 to 60 years old
Sixty-five percent of buyers are male. However, Claes said the 35 percent figure may be too low in this case. 'Women love it,' she says.
Initially, U.S. cars will be sold through a network of five factory stores, in Beverly Hills, San Francisco and suburbs of Detroit, Miami and Baltimore.
'As a low-volume manufacturer, we're not going to do a lot of advertising,' Claes said. 'E-mail and the Internet - that's the way a lot of our business will be conducted.'