Last updated at 12:38 GMT, Friday, 04 January 2013

Italian car sales crash

Summary

4 January 2013

Sales of high performance cars have fallen in Italy showing that even the rich are beginning to feel the effect of the recession.

Reporter:
Mark Duff

Maseratis

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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 of schadenfreude 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.

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Vocabulary

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)

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