Seek and Destroy: Ferrari Crushed Three Counterfeit Cars in 2023

The cars were part of the more than 400,000 fake Ferrari-branded items the automaker seized and destroyed in 2023.
Ferrari

Fake versions of luxury goods is a neverending battle, but Ferrari refuses to throw in the towel no matter how many counterfeit items it captures. And the number of fakes Ferrari finds is a lot. According to data recently released by the Italian automaker, it tracked, seized, and destroyed more than 400,000 knockoff items in 2023—including three whole cars. Ferrari doesn’t detail what those counterfeit cars were, but they had to be pretty damn good to catch their attention.

“The counterfeiters are becoming ever more capable,” said Carlo Daneo, General Legal Counsel of Ferrari. “It may sound incredible, but, quite apart from the false accessories such as T-shirts and hats, there are people who ingeniously realize fake Ferrari cars, of course, to be sold at very high prices.”

According to Daneo, these master artisans will start with a genuine Ferrari chassis but then craft the body of a higher-priced model over it. Some of these dupes are so impressive that they make it all the way to high-dollar auctions. If Ferrari figures out something is amiss, the vehicle is taken off the market. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen and the Ferrari repo man has to pay a visit to the unwitting buyer, which has got to be the worst feeling for everyone involved.

“[S]ometimes the party in possession of a fake Ferrari has no intention, originally, of demolishing it, especially when they have spent a not inconsiderable sum to acquire it,” said Daneo. “At that point, it’s up to us to rigorously apply the rules and make the buyer understand the legal consequences that they are facing.”

Additionally, even authentic Ferrari vehicles that have been modified are subject to scrutiny. 

“Whoever does so must understand that such a car will never be admitted to official events, and that, if the modifications have compromised the car’s technical aspects, they may not be covered by the relevant guarantee. In extreme cases, they could even compromise its homologation for use on the road,” Daneo explained.

For a less-than-renowned name, this might be overkill. But Ferrari isn’t a brand for the masses and has every right to be particular about what its name is attached to. While cars might be the big-ticket counterfeits, it’s lower-cost merchandise like hats, sunglasses, accessories, and Formula One apparel that are most frequently duped. And counterfeit criminals will put a Ferrari badge on anything and everything, including a fridge. Although the fridge is real, it’s a Ferrari fake. 

Understanding the breadth of combating counterfeit Ferrari items, the message from Maranello is help us find the dupes, and we’ll send you something legit in return. The Ferrari anti-counterfeiting reward project was introduced last year and allows registered users to report any instance of a Ferrari product that is anything but authentic.

Daneo says that through the rewards program, Ferrari receives reports of trademark infringement daily. That’s an upside, yet it also means the verification process is daunting. “But it’s a great satisfaction to see that so many people—from employees to fans—have taken to heart this important battle,” he said. The irony of this imitation is that for it to be the sincerest form of flattery, it has to be a lie.