September 13, 2006

Ferrari Car Seats? Che Fai? Che Pensi?


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.

Team-Tex []
Previously: strollers for Porsche drivers; Porsche car seats; Ferrari baby gear


It seems these days that Ferrari these days is trying to appeal to the "gold chain crowd" of former Corvette and Pontiac Firebird drivers who've just come into a ridiculously large amount of disposable income. If you want a car that exudes European style and sophistication, you're better off looking for something like an Aston Martin or a Porsche.

I went with the Recaro Young Sport, mostly because the Graco I first got did not really fit into the back seat of my VW. I think the Recaro is an excellent car seat. I believe my child is very comfortable on long trips, and it is very easy to put in and take out of the car. Plus the back of the car seat is smooth and does not leave the horrible indents in the seats that the Graco did. And let’s face it – it just looks cool. Well worth the money.

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