Looks like a great year is shaping up for Ferrari. Ferrari Chief Says Start of Year is Best Since 1992 The chairman of Ferrari, Luca di Montezemolo, said on Tuesday that the Italian sports carmaker had got off to its best start of any year since he took over the company in 1992. "This year is going to be very difficult, with a lot of challenges, not least of all from the global economy and the weak dollar," di Montezemolo told reporters at the Geneva car show. "But we have started the year very well. In January our sales were the best I have seen since I arrived in 1992." Last year, sales at Fiat-controlled Ferrari-Maserati rose 4.4 percent to 1.26 billion euros but its operating profit fell 54 percent to 32 million euros. Di Montezemolo said 2003 results had been hit hard by the fall in the US dollar. Ferrari makes almost 40 percent of its car sales in US dollars and also receives all its lucrative Formula One sponsorships in dollars. The Ferrari boss said the company had already sold all 25 MC12 Stradale cars it had planned. They sold for 600,000 euros plus tax. Di Montezemolo added that the company planned to sell 2,200 Maserati Quattroporte cars in 2004. "So far it has an excellent success rate and we are starting to deliver the first cars right now," he said. Di Montezemolo said China and Russia were two of the most important markets for Ferrari, and especially for Maserati. He added that Ferrari would open more sales points in the next few months and a showroom in Shanghai in June. Di Montezemolo also said Ferrari earned over 20 million euros from royalties in 2003 and expected "great growth" in 2004. Ferrari has a series of deals to make everything from model cars to leather shoes bearing Ferrari's prancing horse logo. Fiat had planned to list Ferrari, one of Italy's best-loved and most international brands. But, faced with a downturn in markets in 2002, it sold a 34 percent holding to banks, who are now looking for an opportune moment to sell the stake in the market.