Friday, 7 June 2013

High-stakes competition: The Ferrari Train vs Trenitalia

Until April 2012, travelers who wanted to ride high-speed trains from city to city inside Italy had only one choice: Trenitalia, the state-owned rail system (left).

Then Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori, a startup headed by Ferrari's chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, began service with its own sleek, stylish high-speed Italo trains and other upscale amenities (right). The company is very 21st century, even managing its planning and scheduling data in the cloud.

Competition has been intense in a market that was once a monopoly for Trenitalia. Millions of euros are at stake in this battle for passengers and market share.

Now NVT has complained that Trenitalia is using its dominant market position to make things difficult for the startup. Italy's antitrust regulator is currently investigating whether Trenitalia has obstructed NVT's access to the railway infrastructure, charged unfairly high fees for access, blocked access to train station advertising opportunities and charged NVT higher fees for advertising in stations, among other charges. No decision is expected for months.