Sales of high performance cars have fallen in Italy showing that even the rich are beginning to feel the effect of the recession.
Reportagem: Mark Duff
Italians' love for fast cars is legendary. But glamour is, it would seem, no defence against the current economic gloom.
New figures from the Italian motor dealers' federation show that the country's best known luxury sports cars, Ferrari and Maserati, have seen their sales in Italy plummet over the past year; Ferrari's by more than 56%, Maserati's by 72%.
The actual number of vehicles sold is, of course, tiny. Just 248 Italians forked out for a Ferrari last year, not surprising, perhaps, when each car costs the equivalent of up to $300,000.
The head of the motor traders' federation blamed high taxes for the fall in sales.
However, while poorer Italians may register an uncharacteristic flicker ofschadenfreude at the news that their richer compatriots are cutting back, they won't have much time to gloat.
Official figures recently showed that almost a third of Italians are on the verge of poverty, while the average Italian family is bracing itself for an extra €585 of government taxes.
legendary famous, very well known
economic gloom financial recession
plummet fall very quickly
forked out for paid a large amount of money for
register an uncharacteristic flicker of have a small emotion that is not typical
schadenfreude a good feeling when something bad happens to someone else
compatriots people of the same nationality
to gloat to feel or show pleasure at someone else's bad luck
on the verge of very close to
bracing itself for preparing itself (for bad news)