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Customer relations key to Ferrari Australia’s success

High roller: Ferrari Australasia president and CEO Herbert Appleroth (left) says a number of key measures will help maintain Ferrari’s coveted high customer experience levels.

Reducing time to market, improving customer experience to strengthen Ferrari

Ferrari logo23 Nov 2015

FERRARI Australia is on the cusp of breaking sales records, but numbers are not a priority, according to Ferrari Australasia president and CEO Herbert Appleroth, who insists the Italian supercar-maker is more focussed on improving its relationship with its customers.

Speaking at the reveal of the new 488 Spider at its Richmond dealership in Melbourne, Mr Appleroth said that Ferrari is “about customer delight” and one way to enhance the buying experience is to reduce the time it takes to get a car into customer's hands.

“When Ferrari took over local distribution back in 2013, one of our key things was to reduce the time to market,” he said.

“Traditionally, you would see a car launch internationally, then some 12 months later you’d see it in Australia. That’s now down to five months. And that’s down to people in our homologation department.”

Ferrari revealed its 488 Spider in July ahead of its debut at the Frankfurt motor show in September, with customer deliveries expected in April 2016. Mr Appleroth said that this wait time could shrink even further as Australian safety and emissions standards fall more into line with European regulations.

Mr Appleroth also said some of Ferrari’s existing dealerships will see a revamp to help maintain high levels of customer satisfaction.

“You’ll see we opened in Brisbane a few months ago, we opened this [Richmond, Melbourne] in March, Sydney is going to be rebuilt during Christmas, and that was a brand new facility only a few years ago, to a completely new fit-out to the latest CI (corporate identity) you see here,” he said.

“Adelaide is also undergoing this during the Christmas period. Perth is under construction. New Zealand, we’re just signing off the final plans for our new showroom down there.

“So it’s not something new, it’s an evolving thing every five years, and that’s to make sure we stay in front of the marketplace.”

Mr Appleroth said that key to customer satisfaction is its one-of-a-kind three-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty and seven-year free servicing plan across its entire model range.

“Normally after the manufacturer’s warranty, in any car, you see the cars go into the unauthorised network. We launched this seven-year maintenance program three years ago, so now we are seeing the first positive reaction, well over 80 per cent retention still coming to our showrooms, and that’s why we spend so much money on our facilities,” he said“It’s a huge investment to make that experience the best and for people to not want to look outside the official network.”

Ferrari has sold 144 new cars in the first ten months of the year, just 19 units short of its yearly sales record of 163 vehicles in 2008, but Mr Appleroth said sales data is not the only indication of success for the brand.

“So investing in our premises, investing in our people, huge training programs, and this is by far more than any other brand, doesn’t matter what segment, we’re investing more in training and people in our processes and of course, our products,” he said.

“This year we’ve revealed three new Ferraris [488 GTB, F12tdf and 488 Spider], three new cars for such a small car company. We’ve never collected more orders than this year by far, so our growth is probably more than anyone and it's right at the top of the price range.

“So hopefully we are doing something right and our customers are trusting us. I mean we’ve tripled the pre-owned business for the official network. When you focus on pre-owned, of course what happens when people are hunting for used Ferraris? Prices go up and we are, by far, again the best when it comes to resale value, and that is particularly why we are leading the way.”

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