Women are the next battleground in supercars in Australia, according to Ferrari Australasia CEO Herbert Appleroth.
Having boosted its share of female owners to 12 percent – leaving 88 percent as men – the Italian supercar brand is working to attract more women as the Italian supercar maker continues its growth off the back of new models.
Last year Ferrari sold a record 167 cars – eclipsing the 163 sold in 2008, before the GFC kicked in – with the brand on track to match that in 2016.
And with new models arriving – including a V8 version of the GTC4Lusso, the first ever V8 four-seat Ferrari – the brand sees potential to attract more females.
“It’s one of our highest growth areas for us,” says Appleroth. “We’re pushing this marketplace right now and I don’t think anyone has done it effectively in Australia.”
Appleroth says there was "a feeling Ferrari is a boy's club" but that has changed, to the point where personalised marketing activities are targeted at both sexes.
“We do a lot of lifestyle activities … so we’re appealing to everyone now; it’s not just the man who used to take the car on a race track and that’s it.
“At drive events we like to have partners there … we actually request that the ladies have a chance to drive the car.”
Appleroth says there are Ferrari events now targeted specifically at females including “specific track events and drive events for ladies” including for “women in power”.
Ferrari is also working on attracting buyers earlier. In five years the brand has lowered its average age from 52 to 46, something that's involved enticing people from other brands – typically German luxury marques - into the "Ferrari family". Some 61 percent of 488 buyers – including many on the two-year waiting list – have never owned a Ferrari before.
Appleroth credits the recent sales boom in top end cars such as Ferraris to increased buyer confidence as the world emerged from the Global Financial Crisis, rising property prices that have allowed access to cheap finance, and a broadening of the wealth in Australia.
“There’s a level of confidence in this marketplace which I’ve never seen,” he says. “The wealth is in the hands of so many people now, in so many different postcodes.”
One thing that won't change for Ferrari, though, is its core vehicles. Unlike rivals such as Lamborghini and Porsche there are no plans for an SUV, something executives claim could harm the brand.
“We don’t produce SUVs, we don’t do mini-vans or whatever else. We produce the world’s best sports cars and that’s it.”
One challenge with such heated demand, though, is determining who to sell cars to. Ferrari has long battled with speculators who anticipate more demand than supply and place an order only to sell it at a profit soon after taking delivery.
Ferrari Australia now vets buyers in an effort to eliminate the practice.
“You need to ensure the cars are going to the right people,” says Appleroth, referring to the “real Ferrari-isti, rather than people who just want to make money on the car”.
“We look at everyone very, very carefully.
“We like people who want to engage with the Ferrari brand, who have the same ethos as us.”