By  on December 5, 2011

MARANELLO, Italy — If you think simply buying a Ferrari is the ultimate luxury, think again. Now devotees can top that with a tailor-made model — choosing among Loro Piana cashmere or Ermenegildo Zegna fabrics, Japanese Kubose denim or Ballantyne argyle motifs to personalize interiors and cabin trims, while personally selecting accessories, treatments and livery color.

“Customization is a long-standing tradition at Ferrari, but materials here are specifically designed for the ‘tailor-made’ program, with a completely unprecedented choice, a dedicated team and a dedicated designer per customer,” said Fiat heir and Italia Independent founder Lapo Elkann, who helped develop the project, presented Friday at Ferrari’s headquarters here.

Ferrari owners will be able to select car details from three main collections, on display in one area of the building, which Elkann described as an “haute couture studio.” The collections are called: Scuderia, Inedita and Classica.

“They represent the three core values of the brand, and stand for performance, innovation and heritage, respectively,” said Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo. Scuderia harks back to Ferrari’s F1 tradition, with suede seats reminiscent of the 312T driven by world champion Niki Lauda, for example; Inedita is conceived as a more innovative and fashion-forward concept, such as the denim-upholstered and trimmed California model, and pin-striped seats, a cashmere roof and a teak-trimmed boot represent the Classica style.

Elkann said it took more than a year to develop the project, with innovative materials such as Kevlar fiber or bulletproof fabrics. “We’ve done extensive research, even on colors. We don’t offer one or two shades of white, but countless, even bespoke, and we have 25 to 30 different stitches we can use,” said Elkann, noting that his first job was at Ferrari when he was 21.

Tailor-made will add 25 percent to the price of the car, whose average cost ranges from 200,000 euros to 300,000 euros, or $269,228 to $403,842 at current exchange. Only 500 “Tailor-made” cars will be produced a year. While the process will be put in place in 2012, five cars have already been personalized under the concept. Ferrari sells 7,000 cars a year in 58 markets. Montezemolo said the number of markets is growing, with increasing demand from China and the United Arab Emirates, but that Ferrari wants to maintain its exclusivity, with a waiting list of between 15 and 18 months. “We sell a dream, not a car,” he remarked. While the U.S. will remain Ferrari’s main market in 2012, China, he said, will become Ferrari’s second largest region next year, overtaking Germany.

“This is about style, not fashion,” Elkann said of the Tailor-made program. “Style lasts in time and history, fashion comes and goes.”

And in a fashion-meets-the-automotive moment, Andrea Perrone, former Brioni ceo, was introduced as the new brand senior vice president, and the head of licensing and merchandising, retail and e-commerce development.

Montezemolo said Ferrari’s licenses with Puma, Hublot, Sony and Mattel generate total sales of 40 million euros, or $53.8 million, a year.

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