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Ferrari adds Australia to the stable

Prancing on: The LaFerrari is the latest supercar from the iconic Italian brand that has taken Australian distribution in-house.

Factory-backed team to harness Prancing Horse sales in Australia

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14 Mar 2013

FERRARI will retake the reins of the brand in Australia, winding back a seven-year association with new-car entrepreneur Neville Crichton.

From April 1, the car-maker says it will take over the importation of the Prancing Horse badge in Australia, with Mr Crichton’s Sydney-based European Automotive Importers business stepping back but retaining its NSW retail space and distribution services.

Mr Crichton told GoAuto that the factory takeover of the import and distribution side of the business was “inevitable”.

“They’ll do their own importing, and they’ll have their own sales team to run the network,” Mr Crichton said.

“I’ll be supporting that. It was always going to happen – we were one of the last private importers in the world virtually,” he said.

Mr Crichton said over the seven-year association, his business had sold around 1100 cars wearing the Prancing Horse badge – a number to be proud of.

Herbert Appleroth, who will oversee Ferrari’s new Australian market as its chief executive, told GoAuto that the shift in focus for the brand was similar to a factory takeover of the Japanese market last year.

He said Ferrari’s move would take better control of what he said were “mature markets”.

Mr Appleroth said the change in command would benefit customers through a closer tie with the Maranello-based company.

“It’s part of a restructure right throughout the world,” Mr Appleroth said. “Ferrari SpA is taking back control of its mature markets worldwide.” Ferrari sells about 120 cars a year in Australia, keeping in mind Enzo Ferrari’s philosophy that the car-maker would always try and sell one less car than what demand calls for to build exclusivity.

The brand has been a part of the Australian landscape for 61 years.

“(Australia) is different to other parts of the world where there is still very strong growth potential,” Mr Appleroth said.

“We believe that there is growth potential in Australia and New Zealand, but it is not the reason why we are taking over.

“We’re taking over because we’re getting closer to our end customer -- Australia is a long, long way from Marinello and Italy, and to have our own representatives here … allows us to get a one-to-one relationship with clients.”

Part of that process is ensuring that owners take the keys to their new Ferraris as soon as possible.

Mr Appleroth said the supercar maker would work to curb waiting lists that can blow out as far as three years for some new models, with the aim of uniting cars and new owners within 12 months.

Australian Ferrari owners do high kilometres compared with other world markets, averaging about 9000km a year. This compares with places such as Japan, where the annual average is just 1500km.

Mr Appleroth said even Italian drivers – the home ground for Ferrari – were driving less, but mainly as an austerity measure in the face of Europe’s currency crisis.

In the 61 years the Ferrari brand has sold here, more than 2500 cars have rolled into Australian driveways.

Ferrari’s annual production is currently about 7500 cars.

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