Ferrari Australia is taking advantage of a global market downturn to snare more volume and poach more customers from other brands.
Speaking at the local reveal of the 488 GTB, Ferrari Australasia CEO Herbert Appleroth said his main job is to beg for more cars and keep waiting lists down.
“My job is not to sell Ferraris, it’s actually to get more Ferraris for our customers,” tells the man at the top of the Italian supercar local outfit.
“Because the demand is so strong I need to be a great negotiator to get more cars for Australia. We certainly don’t want to flood the market; we want a responsible number of cars to bring in because resale value is core. At this stage there has been no change with volume globally, but luckily we’ve been able to get more cars for Australia.”
Prompted by the suggestion that a boost in local volume is thanks to economic downturn in Europe and China, Appleroth replies, “A slowdown anywhere is great for me”.
In the past three years since Ferrari became a factory operation in this country, taking back rights to the brand from third-party importer Ateco, sales have averaged 100 to 115 units per year. In the first half of this year, 97 Italian stallions have already galloped out dealer doors.
“The only thing holding us back is the supply,” adds Appleroth.
Of those buying California T, 70 per cent are new to the brand where, “A lot of people come across from the traditional GT market, so you’re talking cars like Bentley and CL Benz.”
More surprising is the more than 100 forward orders for the new 488 GTB, with new buyers coming, “From Porsche, from AMG, surprisingly, so not even true competitors, they’re just stepping up.”
“We’re seeing unprecedented levels of new buyers coming to us for the 488 from brands and people we’ve never spoken to before,” explains Appleroth.
Some of the traditional buyers of a Ferrari V8-engined sports car the brand haven’t seen since the days of 360 and 430, while there is a new sub-segment of customer that Appleroth calls “V8 sportsisti”.
“They’re … a sub category of customers who only buy our most extreme versions. We had customers who only bought the 430 Scuderia, but didn’t buy the 458 Italia, they waited for the Speciale.”
It is little known, but beyond a three-year, unlimited kilometre warranty, Ferrari also includes free scheduled servicing with every car sold and covers the cars for track time, “So long as it’s not abused.”
“It gives enormous confidence to our clients that there’s not going to be these additional costs that they may be scared of. I guess that’s the reason why we’re getting so many buyers from other brands new to Ferrari, it’s because we’re taking that element of risk out of the market”.