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Driven: Ferrari targets SUV owners with GTC4Lusso

All of the horses: Ferrari says the GTC4Lusso is heading into the super premium SUV space in Australia.

GTC4Lusso to snare larger slice of Ferrari sales pie

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Ferrari logo28 Jun 2017

By DANIEL DEGASPERI

FERRARI Australasia is targeting British GT and premium SUV buyers following the launch of its new GTC4Lusso, with the replacement for the FF tipped to attract younger buyers and also snare a larger slice of the brand’s total sales.

Speaking with GoAuto at the national media launch of the GTC4Lusso in western New South Wales last week, Ferrari Australasia CEO Herbert Appleroth said the new model would achieve a percentage share of the brand’s total sales in the “double digits” for the first time, teamed with a higher brand-conquest rate.

“A lot of people (existing Ferrari buyers) have moved up in the process of 456, 612, FF (and to this) GTC4Lusso, but now I think we will be really appealing to those who have been driving other marques,” Mr Appleroth explained.

“I think from a design perspective obviously there’s been big advancements (from FF). The marketplace is dominated by British brands – GTs, V12 GTs, are very much dominated by the British – but I think that being such a new product compared to the lifecycles of our competitors, it’s a very, very good time for us.

“Most of our conquest clients will come from those other products, but also what we’re finding is British SUV and German SUV has been a very big conquest ratio.”

Mr Appleroth clarified that the GTC4Lusso conquest rate “will be over 50 per cent” compared with “about 40 per cent” for the FF it replaces.

“Over 50 per cent (of buyers) will be new to Ferrari,” he continued.

“I think the owner will be much younger too than, say, FF, because I think it (GTC4Lusso) is far more design or style conscious. That ‘shooting brake’ while not a new concept, really does appeal to people who are design focused. People who want something different.

“It’s (also) the first time in our history ever for Ferrari that we’ve had one model with two drivetrains. The combination of the all-new styling and interior for the GTC4Lusso, combined with the GTC4Lusso-T, I think that will certainly at least double the percentage share of our overall pie for sure.”

While the 6.3-litre V12-engined, all-wheel-drive GTC4Lusso has arrived in Ferrari showrooms this month priced from $578,888 plus on-road costs – or $46,112 cheaper than FF – the addition of a 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8, rear-wheel-drive GTC4Lusso-T was expected to further lift volume from late 2017.

“Already the inquiry and the sales rate obviously will sort of explain that (volume lift) and we don’t really start marketing GTC4Lusso-T until third/fourth quarter this year,” Mr Appleroth said.

Asked what percentage of Ferrari sales – alongside California, 488 and 812 Superfast in local showrooms – the GTC4Lusso could acquire, the CEO replied: “It’s certainly now more than double digits, that’s for sure, of our overall share.”

According to VFACTS May 2017 results, Ferrari sales volume has lifted 8.2 per cent to 79 year-to-date sales, and Mr Appleroth reiterated that while the Italian supercar brand does not chase sales, it would be “correct” to say the GTC4Lusso would add to this sales performance and not take from other models.

However, Mr Appleroth further said there was no assumption that the $503,888 GTC4Lusso-T would dramatically outsell the just-launched V12 version, owing to changed local buyer engine preferences compared with only a few years ago.

“Now we're seeing levels of inquiry (on V12s) which is similar to what we would expect for V8, so it looks like price is no longer an inhibitor,” he continued.

“Our resale values are the best in the market, so people are thinking about it and scratching that itch, which is V12. I think certainly V12 will play a larger role in the overall Ferrari mix here in Australia.

“In Europe, V12 … has always been a very high percentage (of sales), whereas in Australia it has been quite niche. Now it’s coming out of that.”

While Ferrari has ruled out building an SUV to rival the likes of the Bentley Bentayga and forthcoming Lamborghini Urus, Mr Appleroth suggested a number of reasons why buyers of those vehicles might look at the GTC4Lusso.

“If you look at traffic lights, you don’t see a lot of super-luxury SUVs full of people and full of luggage,” he surmised.

“Likewise for us, it’s the ability to have that flexibility when you need it.

Instead of having a sportscar and an SUV, you’ve got two in one.

“It (GTC4Lusso) really is quite a big car, similar in dimensions to some of those SUVs, internal and external, but now it feels a much smaller car because of that four-wheel steer. I think it’s a combination of interior, exterior and certain new technology that is going to be the most appealing.”

Asked whether the premium SUV boom meant the GTC4Lusso now edges closer to the space in which premium SUV models occupy, the CEO replied: “Absolutely.”

He also suggested that, compared with the more polarising FF, the new exterior and interior styling, and greater technology, would all strike a chord with buyers.

“I think the exterior restyling has been, obviously it’s an evolution, but if you compare it to the FF it’s a revolution,” he added.

“What the design team have been able to do with just some simple changes in curve space and surface areas is quite outstanding. If I see the reaction online and the first reactions from our clients and from our prospects, the styling scores extremely high. The interior certainly benefits that, obviously now with our 10.25-inch multimedia system with all the latest tech, which you’ve probably never seen from a Ferrari before.

“So instead of trailing, I think we’re probably very much leading that.”

The new 10.25-inch infotainment system is the centrepiece of the revised GTC4 Lusso four-seat cabin, which utilises a computer that is eight times more powerful than the previous system. It also delivers satellite navigation with 3D maps and ‘split view’, access to standard dual-zone climate control air-conditioning and – as a hefty $6790 option – Apple CarPlay connectivity.

Other optional kit includes a panoramic glass roof ($32,500), carbon-fibre steering wheel with LED tachometer lights ($13,000), front suspension lift system ($11,000), premium audio system ($10,450), colour passenger display ($9500), diamond-pattern leather seats ($9000) and adaptive front lighting ($4900).

Ferrari said the price reduction compared with the FF was part of its strategy to return features to the options list.

The 450-litre boot volume remains unchanged compared with the FF, as is the core chassis, the 245mm front/295mm rear 20-inch alloy wheel and tyre package, and 398mm front/360mm rear ventilated disc brakes.

The carry-over 6.3-litre V12 now produces 507kW of power at 8000rpm and 697Nm of torque at 5750rpm, with a higher compression ratio of 13.5:1 (comparing with the FF’s 12.3:1) contributing to a rise of 21kW/14Nm.

Teamed with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, a 0-100km/h claim of 3.4 seconds falls three-tenths over the FF, while claimed combined cycle fuel consumption of 15.0 litres per 100 kilometres drops 0.4L.

Although the 4RM Evo four-wheel-drive system remains, an updated traction control software called Slip Slide Control debuts, but now with an S to denote the addition of rear-wheel-steering hardware.

The 4920mm-long GTC4Lusso has a kerb weight of 1920kg, with identical-to-FF weight distribution of 47 per cent front and 53 per cent rear.

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