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Manufacturer insight: Ferrari

It’s the same the whole world over; it’s the rich what gets the pleasure…

Ferrari financial results tell us that no matter how bad the global economy, some things a man just has to have.

And the boys were out in their number last year buying Ferraris, according to the record financial results just made available.

The Brits are right up there.

“Significant rates of growth in China, USA, Germany and Great Britain,” says Ferrari and as the countries are not listed in alphabetical order one must assume that it is the Chinese who have been leading the rush.

The Italian company delivered 7,195 cars internationally which was a 9.5% increase on 2010.

Revenue from those trades was €2.25 billion (£1.81bn) which was an increase of 17.3%. Net profit for the business rose only slightly to just over €300 million (£240m).

Research and development is in full-flood: €279m (£225m) was spent readying the next generation of products. Despite this outlay, there is still €700m (£565m) sitting in the bank.

Luca de Montezemola, the chairman of the Fiat Group subsidiary, was not shy about the success: “extremely positive results…unprecedented in Ferrari history.”

Ferrari has been working its magic on the customer to ensure he does not just buy the basic vehicle and go home. Every single car had bespoke options.

Ferrari now has the “Tailor-Made Programme” to lure buyers into even more expenditure and it is handled by Ferrari directly rather than through dealers.

That is because it is not a run-of-the-mill catalogue process. The price is related directly to the buyer’s request because some requirements will be in conflict with others.

The buyer says what he wants.

The factory tells him how much they will charge and that’s that.

The complication is that one-off production can need one-time engineering solutions. And Ferrari often needs to homologate to get the oddball car on the road.

If a buyer wants to go down that road, Ferrari wants the total spend to be €50,000 (£40,000) plus.

There is a standard range of options that can amount to as much as €20,000 (£16,000).

Despite the many problems that the Fiat Group has corporately, Ferrari has clearly been left to enjoy the fruits of its own endeavour. Its cash reserves are €700m (£565m).

And it has done most of the spending needed to get a strong global sales network.

It has bases in 58 countries. And it has a full range of cars, says Montezemola.

Internally, Ferrari considers there are three main reasons for its extra-ordinary success.

One is that restless product development: the man who wants the latest thing won’t buy if the latest thing is the thing he has already got.

California, 458 Italia and 458 Spider all came to market last year.

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