NEW YORK (CNNMoney) – Ford made it very clear to Italian sports car maker Ferrari, that the name “F150” is a truck – not a racecar. Faced with a lawsuit over the matter, Ferrari backed down.
Ferrari had named its new Formula 1 racecar the F150, in celebration of the 150th anniversary of Italy’s unification. But the name tag already has a strong following as one of the best-selling vehicles in America – the Ford F-150 pickup truck.
Not wanting the Italian automaker messing with its name, Ford filed a lawsuit against Ferrari. And on Thursday, Ferrari was the first one to step away from the F150 fight.
The Italian automaker announced it was changing the way it referred to its racecar. … It will now be called the F150th Italia.
However, Ferrari still doesn’t understand what upset Ford so much.
“Ferrari believes its own contender in the upcoming F1 Championship cannot be confused with any other types of commercially available vehicle whatsoever, nor can it give the impression that there is a link to another brand of road-going vehicle,” Ferrari said in a statement. “Therefore it is very difficult to understand Ford’s viewpoint on the matter.”
In response, Ford says it never thought anyone would confuse its big, brawny truck with a single-seat, open-wheel race car.
“We’re not concerned that the two vehicles would be confused,” Ford spokeswoman Anne Marie Gattari said. “The motive behind this action was about the brand being diluted.”
In other words, the name “F150” to most people means a truck. Ford wanted to make sure it stayed that way.
Regardless, Ferrari will change how it refers to the car. But Ferrari said that this isn’t really a name change — F150th Italia was really the name of the car all along. But from now on, Ferrari will always use the full name — not the shortened F150 — so they can keep out of Ford’s way.
Ford Motor Co. was not immediately available to say whether it was satisfied with Ferrari’s change.
(Ferrari’s response in full) – In merit to the name of the new Ferrari Formula 1 car, the Maranello based manufacturer conveys that a letter of response has been sent to Ford, highlighting that the name F150 (utilised as an abbreviation of the complete name Ferrari F150th Italia) is not, or will ever be, the name of a commercial product – there is no possibility that the racing car will be produced commercially – but, as has always been the case in the history of the team, it represents the name of a car project that is used for competition and is denominated by a chronological fashion, technical specification or, in exceptional cases, by particular occasions. This year it was decided the dedicate it to a particularly important anniversary, the 150th of Italian Unity, the importance of which has induced our government to call, for this year only, a national holiday. For this reason Ferrari consider that it is not possible to confuse the car with which it will compete in the forthcoming F1 championship, with any commercial vehicle or that there is a link with another road vehicle; therefore it is difficult to comprehend the case stated by Ford. That said, as a further testament of Ferrari’s good will, it has been decided to eliminate any official abbreviation and instead the complete name will be always utilised, Ferrari F150th Italia.