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Offline AshSimmonds

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Ferrari has ended persistent speculation of a circa-$300,000 entry-level prancing horse, while the stable door has also been shut on 4WD and four-door models. JEZ SPINKS reports.

If you're still waiting for a Ferrari you can afford, a Ferrari that can go off road, or a Ferrari that will carry the entire family, get ready to be disappointed.

Ferrari last week said it will never build an entry-level, Dino-style supercar, a 4WD or a sedan.

The Italian sports car maker last week invited selected international media - including Drive.com.au - to see its new California hardtop convertible in the flesh for the first time. It's a model that, before its unveiling, most motoring journalists expected to be a relatively more affordable, circa-$300,000 baby Ferrari.

Instead, the California is slightly longer than Ferrari's F430 and will have a similar price tag of about $420,000.

"We will never do a cheap, entry-level Dino," says Ferrrari's director of communications, Davide Kluzer. "[The Dino] is a glorious part of the past."

The Dino was effectively a Ferrari sub-brand produced between 1967 and 1976, created as a way of offering a more affordable sports car with a V6 then V8 engine rather than the V12s common to Ferraris of the era.

It was named after Enzo Ferrari's son, Alfredo 'Dino', who died in 1956 at the age of 24 after years of illness.

"We don't want to make a new Dino," says Kluzer. "Other car makers they have to take from their heritage and reinvent themselves.

"[But] Ferrari is always looking ahead, always looking for new solutions."

Those new solutions won't copy fellow sports car maker Porsche with its 4WD (Cayenne) and forthcoming four-door (Panamera).

"Ferrari will never do a four-door car," says Kluzer. "Four doors means [it's] no sports car. A Ferrari has to have two doors [only].

"And never an SUV. No! No!"

The car maker made a vow a few years ago that its annual production would not exceed 5000 cars, but in 2007 6,465 Ferraris were sold.

The new California hardtop convertible that launches in January 2009 is expected to push sales towards 8000 a year, although Ferrari argues that its annual production has increased only because of demand from developing markets such as China, India and Russia.

French actor Roger Vadim in the 1960s with a Ferrari 250 California.The 1969 Dino 246 GT was powered by a V6 and effectively

"We have not lost the concept of exclusivity," Ferrari president Luca di Montezemelo told international media at last week's opening of the company's new high-tech vehicle assembly line. "The number of [Ferrari] models has grown.

"In several markets we still have waiting lists."


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