Following a record first-quarter profit for Ferrari, the slowing global economy and tightening credit markets slammed into the car industry and ground what had looked like a promising year to a halt. There was talk of tough times at Ferrari. But Ferrari's ledger sheet still looks bright, says the company, with a 17.6% return on sales.

That marks a 1.6% upturn over 2007, a remarkable result considering the industry's turmoil. Ferrari credits its cost-cutting measures as much as its wide range of cars and relatively strong sales with that result. Research and development budgets increased over the year despite the economic downturn, rising to 18% of revenues.

Total revenues for 2008 tallied €1.921 billion ($2.49 billion at current rates), up 15.2% from 2007, largely due to sales of the 430 Scuderia and strong continued performance from the 612 Scaglietti and 599 GTB Fiorano. Total sales volume was 6,587 cars, up by 2% or 122 cars from 2007. North America once again took honors as the largest market for the Prancing Horse, accounting for 1,700 cars of the total.

The new One to One personalization program for 12-cylinder models is credited with growing the brand's non-car related activities by 28%, which also contributed to the strong bottom-line figures. E-Commerce saw a veritable banner year with revenues up 65% over 2007.

Jean Todt is leaving Ferrari after 15 years

Jean Todt is leaving Ferrari after 15 years

It was also announced at Ferrari’s annual Stockholder Meeting today that current board member and former CEO Jean Todt will be leaving the company. Todt first joined Ferrari in 1993 as the executive director of the company’s Scuderia Ferrari F1 team before being appointed as CEO in 2006. Just two years later he relinquished the position to current CEO Luca di Montezemolo and remained as a member of the board.

Todt is credited with turning a then struggling Ferrari F1 team into the powerhouse that it is today. Under his leadership, Ferrari hired Michael Schumacher and together with strategist Ross Brawn and designer Rory Byrne – a combination that produced a nearly-unbeatable team.