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Is Ferrari planning an even more exclusive hypercar?

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Ferrari has confirmed that all 499 examples of its latest flagship, the LaFerrari, are already spoken for as biggest rival Porsche reveals mixed fortunes with its latest flagship offering, the 918 Spyder.

Ferrari's parent company, Fiat, is reportedly examining other opportunities to extend the car's production run in some way with the most likely outcome being an even more limited edition -- perhaps as few as 10 examples -- but with even more power and extreme performance. Each of which could change hands for as much as $3 million.

Reusing the car's platform and V12 petrol engine (but not its electric motors) in order to create a Maserati hypercar is also under consideration. The last Maserati hypercar, the MC12, was actually a Ferrari Enzo in disguise but with a slightly de-tuned engine.

The news highlights not only the strength of the Ferrari brand and the loyalty and trust of its existing client base -- a member of the public is yet to officially test drive the 949bhp car -- but it also underlines the success of the Prancing Horse in this particular segment, compared to McLaren or Porsche.

The LaFerrari, McLaren P1 and the long-awaited Porsche 918 Spyder all have three things in common -- they use a hybrid powertrain (a combination of a petrol and an electric motor); they all have a strictly limited production run; and they each cost more than $1 million.

However, only Ferrari can claim that its hypercar is sold out. Mclaren has managed to sell 275 of its 375 P1 hypercars after little more than six weeks on the market (the company points out that it is yet to extend sales to China but will do in the coming months). However, Porsche, whose 918 Spyder has been on display in concept and prototype version for two years now, is still trying to find homes for many of the 918 examples it intends to build -- despite the fact that it is $300,000 cheaper than the McLaren and $600,000 less than the Ferrari yet offers similar performance.

When asked by Autocar at the Shanghai Motor Show why the Porsche didn't seem to be selling as well as its closest rivals' offerings, Wolfgang Hatz, the company's head of R&D said, "We have a lot of customers interested in it, but the car is expensive, and that high price point means that many of them want to drive it before they spend their money."

In the same interview, he also warned against drawing direct comparisons between the Porsche, Ferrari and McLaren claiming that no one outside Porsche's R&D department has ever experienced a car like the 918: "This is something unique, and really quite special," he said.

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