Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori launched its Italo "Ferrari Train" high-speed rail service in 2012. The company competes with Trenitalia, the Italian state-owned railway, for passengers who want speedy, comfortable transport between major Italian cities.
NTV's stylish, modern trains introduced competition into an industry unaccustomed to rivalry. The company's long-term marketing goal is to carry 9 million passengers per year and capture as much as 25% of the market for high-speed rail service inside Italy.
However, NTV's Italo has not done as well as it had hoped in the first two years of operation. First, the European economy hasn't fully recovered from recession, which means fewer passengers in general and more intense competition for those who are willing to pay for high-speed train service. Second, NTV reportedly says that Trenitalia has set its prices at an unfairly low level. Third, Trenitalia is reportedly raising its operating network fees and the new, higher costs will further erode NTV's profit margins.
Although NTV is attracting passengers, it has lost about €156m in its initial two years of operation, and is looking at layoffs to cut costs. Achieving its market-share goal and becoming profitable will be extremely difficult unless NTV can overcome these challenges.
This post updates the case study about NTV Italo in chapter 7 of my Essential Guide to Marketing Planning.