The high-end Italian car manufacturer - Ferrari announced their plans to enter the wheelchair market at a press conference in Milan today. Market reaction to the announcement was mixed with the company's stock closing trading up a $1 - a one day gain of about half a point.
When asked for the reasons behind this surprise move Antonio Alberti - company spokesman - said the rationale behind the move was clear cut.
"Itta all comesa down to industry leading market researchi," he explained passionately.
"Firstly, our researchi shows wheelchairs are by far the slowest motorized vehicles on the market today. The average battery powered wheelchair travels at less than five miles an hour. You call thissa performance?" he asked with a flourish. "In our first try wea beat this," he continued. "Our prototype wheelchair can get from 0 to 60 in 4 seconds" he boasted proudly. Indeed, performance statistics that are impressive by any standard. Even more remarkable is that Ferrari has been able to develop their prototype using the traditional motorized wheelchair joystick steering mechanism instead of using the able bodied standard - a steering wheel.
Alberti also noted that concerns about declines in demand for their traditional product line in major markets was behind to move to diversify their product line. He attributed declining demand to stricter traffic laws. "These days as soon as a Ferrari owner gets into to second gear, soma cop wants to give dem a ticket. Wheresa fun in that," he noted dolefully. Regaining his enthusiasm he added "But who would be cruel enough to give a guy in a wheelchair traveling at 150 miles per hour a ticket - nobody right, nobaddy" he concluded.
Alberti took a series of questions from the floor from motoring journalists clearly surprised by the news. In response to a question regarding the possibility of Ferrari starting a "high performance wheelchair racing circuit" like Indy Car or Formula One, Alberti noted "We are ruling nothing out at thissa stagey". He went on to explain that it depended largely on the whether other performance car companies follow their lead into the market.
"If those Germans making their Porsches have a fasta wheelchair, iffa Lamborghini stoppa drinking their cappuccino and builda a speedy wheelchair. Ferrari willa want to race it" he concluded with passion.