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Ferrari to keep dealer network lean

Team building: Zagame Automotive Group managing director Bobby Zagame and Ferrari Australasia president and CEO Herbert Appleroth at the relaunch of the Zagame Ferrari and Maserati showroom.

No more dealerships planned and sales to stay as is for Ferrari Australia

Ferrari logo13 Mar 2015

By TIM NICHOLSON

FERRARI Australia will focus on maintaining its existing cashed-up customer base and is not interested in opening more dealerships or chasing sales increases, according to the local chief.

At the Melbourne Zagame showroom relaunch this week, Ferrari Australasia president and CEO Herbert Appleroth told GoAuto that he was not out to break sales records, and highlighted other goals he would prefer to achieve.

“In 2014 we were number one in the Ferrari world for CSI (Customer Service Index) sales and aftersales,” he said. “They are the sort of records I like.” “I like to see record appreciation levels of our used cars. I like to see records like the most numbers of a Ferraris in a cavalcade or most number of events. They are the sort of records we look at.

“Of course we are looking commercially at bringing more people to the Ferrari family, but the overall sales numbers are not what drives us. We are driven by welcoming new people to the family and absolutely delighting them.” Last year 113 Ferraris found homes in Australia – a 6.6 per cent improvement over 2013 – and it is a number that Mr Appleroth is comfortable with, given the Prancing Horse brand's global production cap to ensure exclusivity.

“That’s in line with the global policy of reducing production down to 7000 units... and our actual numbers were a lot more than that but we were restricted by delivery. So I am constantly on the plane trying to get more cars and begging and pleading as my customers ask me to do.” Mr Appleroth said the sales spike of 30 units in the first two months of 2015 was an anomaly related to production and delivery, rather than an indication of what sales the company would finish the year on.

“We just had the first deliveries of California T which has been a phenomenal success and so there was obviously a bit of production brought forward for those first customers and so you won't see that same flow through for the year.” With a number of Ferrari models attracting a $100,000 premium thanks to the Luxury Car Tax, Mr Appleroth called on the federal government to consider Australian new-car buyers and ditch the tax.

“I think if the government is fair dinkum about the consumer and opening up the borders to foreign imports, not only is there risk involved, but if they are trying to save customers money the first thing they should do is abolish the LCT.

“In an average Ferrari it is $100,000. So if they are genuine about reducing the cost of modern automobiles which, like a Ferrari, use less fuel than the old cars that are on the road, if they are genuine about that then they should start with LCT.” While the removal of the LCT would create more interest in the brand in Australia, Mr Appleroth said it probably still would not have a major impact on sales volumes here.

“I think it would put our entry level Ferraris into a different space. But mind you also they would probably go down less proportionately, because we have a large dollar amount in LCT, but it will probably open up, and we are limited by production so even if we did we just stretch our waiting lists.” Mr Appleroth also ruled out any further dealerships in Australia beyond the six currently operating in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane and Auckland, simply saying “that's it, one per state is enough”.

He praised Zagame Automotive Group managing director Bobby Zagame, who is believed to have invested several million dollars in revamping the Richmond Ferrari and Maserati dealership.

“Bobby started as a Ferrari owner before he started as part of the Ferrari family so that’s important that he understands what its like to be a customer before being part of the Ferrari network.” The refreshed showroom is the first one in Australasia to feature the new Ferrari design which will be rolled out to the other dealerships in time and part of the Italian sportscar-maker's global strategy to upgrade retail spaces every five years.

Zagame Ferrari Maserati, which originally opened six and a half years ago, now features a personalisation area, and just one month ago was awarded Ferrari Australasia's dealer of the year award.

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