Underscoring the marque’s allure even as the former unit of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV widens its line-up with more affordable models, Ferrari NV sold out a $2.1 million open-top version of its LaFerrari supercar before its public debut.
Te Paris show was witness to that hat two-pronged strategy.
The LaFerrari Aperta, which is limited to 200 vehicles and was so sought-after that a collector sued for being left off the buyer’s list, was the point of alluring visitors to the show by the Italian sports-car maker at one end of the scale. Equipped with a smaller V8 motor instead of the standard V12, the four-seat GTC4 Lusso T was at the other end.
“For us a limited edition is a way to reward our clients,” Ferrari’s head of sales and marketing Enrico Galliera said at the Paris unveilings.
The Lusso, meanwhile, is meant to fill a market gap.
“There were a number of clients that were looking for something different. They were looking for the same emotion of driving a Ferrari– which is sporty and versatile — but at the same time is specifically designed to be driven every day,” Galliera said.
The strategy of wooing the world’s elite can work without the backing of a bigger player is something that Ferrari has been under pressure to show.
The automaker’s ambition to broaden the brand beyond exotic cars and challenge luxury icons such as Hermes and Louis Vuitton has failed to make headway and its stock has been below the initial public offering price of $52 a share since November.
And thus, while gradually pushing up volumes with the likes of the 233,000-euro ($261,000) GTC4 Lusso T, safeguarding exclusivity with limited-run models such as the Aperta are thought to be the best way out as pressure mounts on Ferrari’s cars to fuel profit growth. From about 8,000 now the company has a target to increase overall production to 9,000 cars annually by 2019.
“The equity story of Ferrari is not yet fully known. The company continues to show visibility, resiliency and price power,” said Massimo Vecchio, an analyst at Mediobanca.
After hitting a low of $32 in the wake of the October initial public offering in New York, that’s helped the stock erase most of its losses. For most of this month, the shares have been trading close to $50.
How the brand still excites aficionados, including celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay who is one of the buyers, is demonstrated by the demand for the new LaFerrari Aperta, whose engine is derived from Ferrari’s Formula 1 race cars.
Nine of the Aperta, which costs about 50 percent more than the original hard-top LaFerrari, would be kept by Ferrari. About 1.85 million euros including taxes would be the price of the car in Italy. Galliera said that requests for the vehicle were triple the planned production run.
Aperta deliveries are set to start in the next quarter. In a variety of finishes meant to evoke the manufacturer’s iconic past, the company also announced it’s producing 350 tailor-made supercars to celebrate its 70th anniversary.
(Adapted from Bloomberg)