Italian luxury sports car maker Ferrari said Monday it expected 2011 to be one of its best sales years ever despite the global economic downturn.
Ferrari, part of Fiat Group Automobiles, said it expected to sell around 7,000 cars globally this calendar year, up from around 6,500 in 2010, with growth driven by new markets in Asia and the Middle East and good US sales.
The company has had "one of its best years in 2011," global chief executive Amedeo Felisa told reporters as he launched Ferrari's new FF model in India at the company's New Delhi dealership.
The FF -- standing for four seats and four-wheel drive -- comes at a starting price of 34.2 million rupees ($702,251) in India, excluding local taxes.
Asia is increasing important for the company, Felisa said, but added sales also grew in the United States despite a stumbling economy.
The company aims to maintain the 7,000 sales level worldwide in 2012, he added.
Ferrari, which opened its first dealership in India in May, already has two other models on the country's roads.
The cheapest, the California, is priced at 22 million rupees ($485,000) after punitive import tariffs of more than 100 percent are applied.
The Maranello-based group has sold around 20 vehicles in India in the five months since it opened its New Delhi dealership, a Ferrari spokesman said.
"Four cars a month is not at all bad," Ferrari spokesman Anubhav Sharma told AFP, saying Indian customers ranged from businessmen to celebrities.
But Ferrari's Indian sales still have a long way to go to catch up to those in the Greater China region -- China, Hong Kong and Taiwan -- where the company sold about 300 cars in 2010.
India, where Ferrari rivals such as Aston Martin, Porsche, Lamborghini and Maserati, are also on the roads is "one of our focus areas," Felisa said.
The number of Indians who have liquid financial assets of over $1 million, excluding main residences, now stands at 153,000, the 2011 World Wealth Report by Merrill Lynch Capgemini says.
The country is also home to the world's highest number of poor people. Some 42 percent of Indians, or 455 million people, live on less than $1.25 a day, according to the World Bank.