Ferrari offering rewards for spotting a fake

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The Italian supercar maker may send you a gift if you flush out a fake Fezza.

Ferrari may reward anyone who reveals a ‘fake’ or replica version of one of its famous sports cars.

The Italian car maker has launched the ‘Ferrari Anti-Counterfeiting Reward’ program that encourages anyone who sees a fake, replica or copy of a Ferrari – from its merchandise to both current and classic cars themselves – to be dobbed in to its Maranello headquarters.

From there, its formidable legal team will determine the next steps for the alleged offenders.

Those who identify the copycats and pretenders may be rewarded, according to where the scheme has been revealed, as reported by US publication Road & Track.

The size and nature of the ‘gift’ has not been detailed, but it appears the concept is designed to incentivise those beyond the ‘Tifosi’ – the Italian name given to the most dedicated and loyal Ferrari fans.

Ferrari has been involved in many legal stoushes to protect its valuable brand name – from quashing sales of counterfeit models of its Formula One cars to protecting the use of its logo.

Ferrari had aggressively been seeking jail time for the defendant.

The latest step highlights how lucrative the criminal act of counterfeit sports car making is, and the threat it poses to makers of the real thing.

Like counterfeit luxury items, such as handbags and watches, it is a criminal act on several fronts, including logo use as well as intellectual property of industrial designs.

In 2019, UK newspaper The Guardian reported on a factory in Brazil producing fake Ferrari and Lamborghini sports cars, classifying them as ‘prototypes’ on registration paperwork, shut down by police.

The illegal operation was allegedly selling replicas of cars for $70,000-100,000 that, if real, would cost between $600,000 to $1.2 million.

While they appeared to be the real thing, they were based on much cheaper vehicles like the Mitsubishi Eclipse and Chevrolet Omega.

Similar operations have been uncovered in Germany, Spain and the US, with the global business worth a reported more than $600 billion.

Replicas of classic Ferraris have also been presented as the real thing, with considerable differences in value.

In 2014, a ‘replica’ 1962 Ferrari GTO was advertised in Germany for $US63 million ($AU96 million).

Only 39 were produced, with experts declaring the vehicle not one of the 39, and therefore worth considerably less than the asking price.

In some cases, a copycat Ferrari may exist for more noble reasons.

A replica Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder – the vehicle made famous in the 1986 John Hughes film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off starring Matthew Broderick – sold for $AU577,000 in 2020.

A genuine version of the car would have been worth around $AU25 million, with the replica one of three made for the movie so that a genuine one would not be destroyed.

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