To properly understand the workings of the luxury automotive niche, one has to understand how the client’s preferences evolve, how trends pick up, and what are the needs of a restricted and highly selective group of customers. This time I was lucky enough to realise an interview with a Ferrari collector based in the USA who accepted to take part in this idea that I hope will gradually transform into a proper series. It is an invaluable opportunity to understand how a company and its products are perceived by someone with first-hand experience.
This Ferrari collector has a long history of passion for supercars and luxury vehicles, with experience of different brands and some incredibly special and rare models, among which Ferrari 488 Pista Spider and Ferrari Monza SP2 of the Icona Series. The 488 Pista Spider production is known to be limited to a few units, but Ferrari did not release an official figure. On the other hand, Monza SP1 and SP2 are limited below 500, making it one of the rarest cars in production today.
R: Where does your passion for luxury cars comes from?
T: The passion for Ferrari started soon after I immigrated to the US. At that time, somewhere, someone gave me a poster of a Ferrari F50 with a hot model laying on the hood. So, I had that poster pinned to my ceiling since, and the rest is history.
R: What do you look for when buying a supercar? (design, performance, tech features, unique customer journey, all of these together, other)
T: Primarily brand and dealership reputation. Ferrari is the one and only brand that speaks to me, and their dealerships’ reputation is much better than Lamborghini, Mclaren, or others. I have owned Lamborghini and McLaren, but I don't anymore because we don't have reputable dealerships in my area.
R: How does Ferrari satisfy these expectations and needs as a client?
T: Ferrari does not design and release many "special or limited" production cars as often as Lamborghini and Mclaren. The process Ferrari goes through to make sure all of the customers are taken care of is much more refined and consistent than their competitors’. For example, Ferrari dealers are not allowed to charge more than the MSRP as it happens with other companies that call them Market Adjustments.
R: Do you have any particular experience or curious anecdote regarding your Ferrari ownership experience?
T: It takes true passion and patience to become a top-tier Ferrari customer. A true and passionate Ferrari fan does not just buy the sexy cars that everyone wants, like the 488, but also the less popular ones such as the GTC4Lusso (in the pictures below). I have owned three.
R: What’s your thought on the upcoming Ferrari SUV?
T: I haven't seen any definitive design. Hopefully, the Ferrari SUV will look more radical than the muted Lamborghini Urus.
R: Do you also participate in track days? Or use your cars mainly for daily driving?
T: Yes, but not as much in 2020 due to Covid-19. I will resume as soon as the 2021 season starts after winter. As a Daily driver, I use a GTC4Lusso V12.
R: What’s your opinion on electric supercars or the future of supercars in general (i.e. e-fuels)?
T: There’s nothing like the sound of a Ferrari V12. Hybrids are a good addition to the product line. But I can't imagine a day when Ferrari no longer offers V12s.
Some really interesting conclusions can be drawn from this Q&A.
First, the importance of a high-level customer service, which confirms the value of a detailed and refined customer journey, as discussed before. Secondly, if anyone still doubted it, the fact that in today’s automotive sector, service is almost as important as the product itself, further justifying the application of a more extensive model for marketing and strategy analysis such as the Marketing Mix 7 or 8 Ps. Additionally, the service has to be delivered through a trusted dealership network which maintains the best standard and practices at every step of the process. These replies and the general trend of the industry are also indications of an exciting future for the competition on the service side of the business (more to come soon).
Other opinions expressed reinforce the evidence that appeared in the Ferrari Market Potential Analysis. The brand itself is a crucial component of Ferrari’s success which sparks a deep passion and loyalty in its clients. Being part of the Ferrari family means taking part in its history and the numerous initiatives and events promoted by the company and its dealerships.
Finally, there is the question of sports cars and supercars’ future with electrification gaining momentum. While now hybrids are widely accepted and most automakers are already moving in that direction, the same cannot be said for EVs. The internal combustion engine and what it entails for driving dynamics and emotions are still an integral part of the Ferrari ownership experience (as it is for several competitors). The transition is arguably still far away, and unless some sudden (but quite unlikely) advancement in E-Fuels development happens, it will eventually come and it will be interesting to see how Ferrari will turn it into a Ferrari driving experience.
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