For wealthy Italians with a passion for supercars, life continues to get harder and more expensive. Once a symbol of Italy’s passion for automotive design, cars from automakers like Ferrari, Maserati and Lamborghini are now triggers for ongoing stings from Italy’s Guardia di Finanza, the tax police.
We first told you about tax police stings at Italian resorts
in March, and the raids had a newar-immediate impact on supercar sales in Italy.
reports, the raids are not only ongoing, but have ramped up to the point that supercar drivers expect to be stopped and questioned at every club event or group drive.
Some continue to take their chances, such as the F40
driver stopped near Venice last month and subsequently arrested for failing to pay 8 million euros ($9.8 million) in taxes dating back to 2006. Another raid turned up a Ferrari 360
owner that owed 3 million euros ($3.7 million) in taxes dating to 2007.
Owners who opt to keep their beloved rides face steep tax increases driven by Italy’s well-publicized austerity measures. Owning a Lamborghini Aventador used to cost 1,800 euros ($2,211) in annual taxes, but under new measures from Prime Minister Mario Monti, that’s climbed to 8,400 euros ($10,320) annually.
As a result, exports of exotic and luxury cars from Italy are up significantly this year. Through May, some 13,633 high-end cars were shipped out of country, compared to just 4,923 cars in 2011. Even more attainable luxury cars are being exported, too; Volkswagen’s head of Italian operations claims that 200 used Porsches per week are leaving Italy.
That may be good news for used car shoppers in Germany, France and Eastern Europe, but it isn’t sitting well with Italians used to enjoying a certain quality of life. With a shrinking economy and rising unemployment, it may be some time before prosperity displaces austerity in the land of the supercar.