According to Beretta International Marketing Director Giuseppi Boni, those challenges include three that have always faced manufacturers in challenging economic conditions: reducing costs, opening up a larger potential market, and still innovating - affordable. With a five-hundred-year old company, Boni continued, there is another challenge "never sacrificing the Beretta tradition of quality."
Officials feel their two new shotgun offerings meet those criteria.
You see it here first. Beretta's new A400 Xplor Light..the same five parts group as the original A400, but reduced to only 6.28 pounds. Jim Shepherd photo.
Introduced in 12 gauge, the A400 Xplor Light features a shortened receiver, reduced weight and the same KickOff recoil system officials say produces up to a sixty percent reduction in felt recoil.
Additionally, Beretta product manager Paolo Buffoli added, this new shotgun isn't designed to only be lighter for long days afield, it's designed to mount faster and fire at a blistering four rounds per second.
Cosmetically, the Xplor Light also sports the stylized Beretta logo checkered on the forearm, and the same distinctive light blue metal coloration as the Xplor.
Beretta claims a sizzling four rounds per second out of the fast-cycling Xplor Light. Fast enough to enable photographs with two shells -one fired; one cycling-in the same frame. Jim Shepherd photo.
Beretta's SV10 Perennia I gets admiring glances from international media as it made its world debut this morning in Lonato, Italy. Jim Shepherd photo.
It's not hand-engraving, but the quality of the work on Beretta's newest over/under might get some admiring glances from friends. Jim Shepherd photo
The second new gun is designed as another "price-sensitive" shotgun - and expansion of the SV10 line of over/unders -the Perennia I series.
The new SV10 Perennia I is an attractively furnished 12 gauge that features the option of choosing selector or extractor mode for shell removal, a setting for dry fire practice, the KickOff recoil system and detailed engraving. No official word on the pricing in the United States, but the European MSRP was approximately $2299 Euros.
Both new shotguns feature Beretta's proprietary-process steel (steelium) and are designed to shoot both steel and regular shot.
In softgoods, apparel manager Luisa Achino showed three varieties of new clothing designed to keep hunters comfortable in anything from warm weather to a downpour. All feature GORE Optifade, a camouflage that achieves large and small geometric shapes which, when combined, Achino said, " help conceal a hunter better than traditional trees and shrub camouflage."
For fall/winter 2010, Beretta will have a total of 470 garment and 460 accessory options to offer consumers.
Closing the presentations, Beretta's European Manager Carlo Ferlite told journalists that the coming year would see the company breaking new ground in technologies designed to connect - and motivate- today's technically savvy consumer.
Samples included new extensions of Beretta's technical and consumer information via the QR-based visual computer code used in today's smart phones to "augmented reality" -using a consumer's camera-equipped computer to allow them to participate in two and three-dimensional information presentations.
Next time, we'll take a look at how a five-hundred year old company puts change to work in its manufacturing and managerial process.