The first booth I stopped into after arriving at ABC Kids Sunday morning was Recaro, who have an increasingly prominent and impressive line of sleek, high performance car seats, as befits their racing and sports car reputation. [But more on that visit later].
What caught me totally off guard, however, was the display near the back of the hall of Ferrari car seats under the banner of Team-Tex USA. Ferrari car seats? I still get desperate emails each month from guys Googling in vain for the Porsche car seats I wrote about back in the day. But car seats from a company that has produced only two sedans in its entire existence?
If only I'd been to the Wynn Ferrari Tchotchke Emporium before I'd seen these chairs. Turns out they're licensed by Team-Tex, a giant France-based manufacturer of low-end baby gear, sold under such brands as Nania and Safety Baby. The Ferrari car seats are nothing but redskinned versions of the same molded plastic chairs they make for the EU, only they've been tested and certified for use in the US.
Now we have a cheap-o Graco; don't get me wrong; it works fine, I don't feel terribly unsafe with the kid in it, and it's great for flying with. But I'm under no illusions that it's a sexy, high-style, high-performance racing machine, either.
For Team-Tex's licensing purposes, I can totally see why they'd want a flashy name to sell their line of under-$80 car seats, though I think that segment may be better served by a NASCAR-branded car seat [if you can overcome the inevitable associations with a fiery, disintegrating death, of course--#3 lives in our hearts forever].
But the car seat and the in-casino store together really make me wonder: what does Ferrari think it's doing by allowing its name to be used on such a demonstrably disparate set of products? It's bad enough they let Kevin Federline buy one. Now this.