Ferrari is more than just a maker of glorious sports cars: you can buy Ferrari beachwear, a Ferrari dominos set and even a carbon-fiber Ferrari photo album worth $1,207. In 2013, Ferrari sold fewer cars than it did in 2012, and yet revenue rose 5 percent to $3.15 billion. And for the second year running, London-based experts, Brand Finance, declared Ferrari the World's Most Powerful Brand.
So with a few extra pennies sloshing around the pot, what will the Italians spend it on?
Ferrari announced today that it has partnered with PortAventura, one of the leading European theme parks and resorts, to create Ferrari Land — an 807,000 sq.-ft. expanse featuring a variety of attractions, including the highest and fastest vertical accelerator in Europe, and a five-star hotel that's shaped like a Formula One race car.
A theme park named after the Italian automaker isn't a new concept. In November 2010, Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi opened to the public, becoming the largest indoor amusement park in the world. Such was the success of that project the Italian marque was inundated with requests to bring its themed amusement park to other locations.
PortAventura, located south of Barcelona and its 4 million tourists per year, made perfect sense. But in a Ferrari first, the company decided to launch a themed hotel, featuring 250 rooms, multiple restaurants, and its own driving simulator.
The entire project will cost $140 million, with the theme park set to open its doors in 2016. No word on when the race car-shaped hotel will open, but its design looks fascinating. You can clearly see the car's nose flowing down to produce the entry canopy, propped up by two struts just like on an F1 car. The front wing spans the width of the the lower level, with the side-pods housing the main hotel rooms (the glass windows appear like the car's radiators). Up top there's an open viewing area (possibly a restaurant) posing as the cockpit, with the mini rear wing on top.
While the hotel looks a little shy on rear downforce, we're willing to bet it makes a tidy profit. It's another example of how a brand has turned its core business into a stepping stone to bigger ventures, much like Apple did with its original computer. Only I don't see an Apple theme park or hotel on the horizon. Perhaps that's what's keeping Silicon Valley from toppling the Italians as the World's Most Powerful Brand.
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- Travel & Tourism