Marco Mattiacci has a challenge as the new CEO of Ferrari of North America Inc.
Mattiacci took over Jan. 1 amid faltering U.S. sales. Volume fell 14 percent in 2009 to 1,467. His predecessor, Maurizio Parlato, 47, a 20-year Ferrari veteran, was sacked after seven years as head of North America.
Ferrari has stopped delivering cars to dealer stocks and will only build cars for customers with signed contracts, dealers said.
Another problem: The new California coupe, scheduled to go on sale here early in 2009, arrived in midsummer, missing some of the prime selling season, dealers say.
Critics praise the 458 Italia introduced at the Frankfurt auto show last September, but deliveries are just starting. It replaces the 430, which U.S. dealers describe as their bread-and-butter seller.
Ferrari's global revenue fell more than 7 percent last year to 1.78 billion euros, or $2.43 billion. The number of Ferrari employees dropped by 182 last year to 2,835.
In an interview late last week, Mattiacci, 39, expressed confidence in the brand's heritage and product lineup. He pledged to continue Ferrari's marketing mystique, which he defines as "exclusivity, exclusivity, exclusivity."
Mattiacci says Ferrari will benefit from its two new models. Mattiacci knows the North American market. He was head of marketing under Parlato until 2006 when he became CEO of Ferrari Asia Pacific.
And dealers are supportive.
"It wasn't like a stranger coming out of the woodwork," one said. "Knowing that he was coming, everyone had a strong comfort zone."