Italian supercar manufacturer Ferrari has a problem (the same problem its always had), demand simply exceeds supply.
Ordinarily, it’s a nice problem to have, but the demand for the prancing horse has never been greater, and now, even loyal Ferrari owners are missing out.
Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne believes the company’s time-honoured policy of building fewer cars than it could otherwise sell, “probably needs to be re-examined, if we’re to maintain our strong customer following”.
“I know of Ferrari owners keen to buy a new model Ferrari and we either can’t supply them, or the waiting periods are too long. In some cases, that wait time can stretch beyond two years, and some find that unacceptable.
“It’s a genuine concern for us at Ferrari, because these buyers want their new car yesterday, not next year, and certainly not a year or two later than that. There’s now a real possibility these buyers might shop elsewhere, and we lose them as potential long-term customers.
“Only last week, I had to tell two guys that already own Ferraris, I couldn’t give them the cars they wanted, due to demand and their position in the queue, Marchionne told CarAdvice.
“Supply and demand is a tricky thing to manage with Ferrari, as our cars attract tremendous residual values, and that’s something our customers benefit from, perhaps more than any other sports car manufacturer.
The fix, according to Marchionne, is not to increase production volumes for existing models (because would put a dent in those residual values), but to add new models, like the more recent California T and GTC4 Lusso. These cars, particularly the California, have added significant volume to the business, despite wearing a price tag from $409,888 (plus on-roads) and $503,888, respectively.
“The California T is a great car, especially with the Handling Speciale package, I’ve already bought two of them”.
After driving the latest California T in Italy last year, we agree with Marchionne wholeheartedly. Dynamically, it’s no less of a Ferrari than any other, and the styling is right up there.
When asked about the possibility of making an even more focused version of the California, Marchionne responded with,
“That’s not the answer. We don’t want to increase supply of any particular model, as that would hurt residual values. But we can, and will introduce new ones to the range, including hybrids”.
Like all car manufacturers (supercar manufacturers included) ever-demanding emissions standards practically demand some form of hybridisation and/or full electrification to satisfy those standards. But it’s what allows manufacturers like Ferrari to keep making V12-powered cars.
And Ferrari is no stranger to hybrids, with experience gained from the LaFerrari hypercar project, which combined a 588kW V12 with a 120kW electric motor for a big boost in performance.
When the F12 is replaced, expect to see some form of hybridised powertrain, but still using a naturally aspirated V12, which Marchionne says is here to stay.
“Come hell or high water, we will be keeping the V12, because that’s what some of our customers want, exclusively. But if we add an electric motor into the mix, we can increase performance without increasing emissions. It makes absolute sense.”
For the moment though, you’ve got to take your hat off to Marchionne and his design team, led by Flavio Manzoni for having the courage to building a car like the 812 Superfast – the most high-performance production Ferrari ever.
It’s massive 6.5-litre V12 presented a significant challenge.
To build the most powerful road-going engine in the marque’s history, but at the same time cutting fuel consumption and emissions while maintaining Ferrari’s scintillating V12 soundtrack. At 8500rpm it’s the closest thing to a screaming old-school Formula One car.