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Ferrari changes dealer hands in Brisbane

High rollers: Martin Roller (left) and business partner Marvin Burke are now handling the Ferrari brand in Queensland, with a new dealership set to open early next year.

Sime Darby retail expansion continues as Ferrari turns to LMM Holdings in Queensland

2 Oct 2014

FERRARI Australasia has shifted its representation in Brisbane from the Willims Motor Group to LMM Holdings, the Sime Darby Motors-controlled retail operation that is led by Martin Roller and includes Lamborghini and two BMW dealerships in the Queensland capital.

Mr Roller becomes dealer principal of Ferrari Brisbane – as he is with Lamborghini Brisbane, Brisbane BMW and Westside BMW – and with business partner Marvin Burke and newly appointed brand manager Franco Giammattei are the key figures in the Prancing Horse’s only official sales and service outlet in Queensland, which will be housed in a new facility due to open in January.

To be located at a still-to-be-confirmed site in Newstead, the multimillion-dollar dealership will be the first in the region with Ferrari’s new corporate identity design, including a purpose-built ‘atelier’ vehicle personalisation and customisation room for customers.

In the meantime, a temporary showroom – able to fit three cars – is operating within the high-end Space Furniture store in Fortitude Valley, while a service centre is up and running on Montpelier Road, Newstead.

Ferrari Australasia chief executive Herbert Appleroth told GoAuto that the new dealership would be dedicated entirely to Ferrari and that the team would operate independently of other brands in the LMM Holdings stable.

“What’s important for us is that we’ve got a focused, Ferrari-only team,” he said.

“What’s most important is that it remains independent, that it’s a focused team – both in sales, marketing and aftersales – and that’s exactly what we have.

“Part of the decision-making process for us in our dealer development is to ensure we have that, and that’s part of the change we have made in Queensland.

It is a purely dedicated Ferrari operation – Ferrari facility, Ferrari people.”

Asked why Ferrari made the shift from the Willims Motor Group, Mr Appleroth said: “We are always looking to constantly improve. We have been investing heavily in the network throughout Australasia since we took over (from Neville Crichton’s European Automotive Imports) in 2013, to ensure that we have the best people, the best processes and the best premises.

“We decided that the best option for us would be to go with a new group who has the experience that we require and the resources to provide what Ferrari customers expect – and sometimes they don’t even expect it yet because the levels of service are to be even better than what has occurred in the past.”

Mr Appleroth said Ferrari already had an association with the Malaysian-based Sime Darby Motors, which purchased Continental Cars in New Zealand in 1999 – one of Ferrari’s longest-standing dealers in the world, having run the franchise since 1973.

Sime Darby holds a 70 per cent shareholding in LMM Holdings following its $80.7 million takeover late last year which handed it the majority stake in the Lamborghini and two BMW dealerships in Brisbane, plus 100 per cent of the property holdings in the BMW interests.

The deal included the buy-out of silent partner in the business, Lindsay Fox, and Mr Roller told GoAuto that Sime Darby’s shareholding is expected to move to 100 per cent at some point.

As well as becoming an increasingly significant prestige retail operator in Australia, Sime Darby is well known as the importer and distributor of Peugeot and Citroen vehicles in Australia.

Mr Giammattei moves across from the Lamborghini dealership to become brand manager for Ferrari Brisbane. He also previously worked at the LMM Holdings’ BMW operations, handling sales of top-end models within the German range.

Mr Roller said that the brand managers at each of the Italian supercar marques handle the day-to-day operations and that a large part of his role was running Brisbane BMW on a daily basis. Mr Burke is finance director at Brisbane BMW.

In a statement, he added: “Ensuring the needs of our respected customers are met has always been our priority, and that is what has made the other prestige brands in our business so successful over the last 15 years.

“We are excited and confident that we can take the Ferrari brand to greater heights in Brisbane both to new clients purchasing, and also in looking after existing clients for all their aftermarket requirements.”

Mr Appleroth said Queensland traditionally accounted for between 15 and 17 per cent of Ferrari sales in Australia and that the company was preparing to undertake a number of marketing initiatives – such as a new Ferrari roadshow – to boost sales in the state, well beyond Brisbane to areas including the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and far north Queensland.

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