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.
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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.
Click here to hear the vocabulary
famous, very well known
- economic gloom
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
a good feeling when something bad happens to someone else
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)