DETROIT – Celebrating the 50 th anniversary of importing its first road car to the U.S., Ferrari SpA unveils its all-new 612 Scaglietti, the company’s replacement for its discontinued 456 4-seat coupe.

Ferrari says it developed the 612 as a replacement for its 456, which had reached the end of its lifecycle. The 612 maintains Ferrari’s history of having a 2+2 in its lineup.

All-new 612 springboard for Ferrari 50th anniversary in U.S.

“”Ferrari has always had a 2+2 in its range of products,” Ferarri SpA Chairman Luca di Montezemolo tells Ward’s in an interview.

“The problem is to do a big car lighter than the smaller (one it replaces), and we used all-aluminum technology coming from Formula 1,” he says. “We like to always be extremely innovative in terms of technology, in terms of performance, and we have done that with this car.”

Ferrari launches the V-12-powered 612 Scaglietti after recording an eleventh-consecutive annual North American sales record: In 2003, the exclusive sports-car company sold 1,350 units in the U.S. and Canada. The number representes a 13% increase over 2002 North American sales, says Ferrari.

Montezemolo attributes the sales increase to the raw emotion Ferrari conjures up in the minds of performance sports car buyers.

“Ferrari sells not really a car, but a dream. The people (who buy our cars) like to translate dreams into reality,” he says. “The mix between passion, design, tradition and emotional driving makes us unique.”

The 612 Scaglietti – so named in honor of Sergio Scaglietti, the man located in Ferrari’s hometown of Modena, Italy, who fabricated the bodywork for some of the most revered early Ferraris – is the first all-aluminum Ferrari to be powered by a 12-cyl. engine.

The Scaglietti’s 5.7L DOHC V-12 develops 540 hp at 7,250 rpm and 434 lb.-ft. (588 Nm) at 5,250 rpm, says Ferrari. (See related story: Ferrari Owners Among First to See New 2+2)

The 612 Scaglietti, with an all-aluminum body and chassis, weighs 4,056 lbs. (1,840 kg) and is 193 ins. (490 cm) long, with a 116.1-inch (295-cm) wheelbase. Ferrari says the 4-seater accelerates from 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 4.2 secs. and has a top speed “over 196 mph (315 km/h).

Ferrari also announces here it has created a certified used-vehicle program. The Ferrari Certified Pre-Owned Program for the U.S and Canada applies to all models Ferrari imports that are no more than 12 years old and have accumulated less than 60,000 miles (96,500 km).

– with Kevin Kelly