Ferrari races to another record
Ferrari has begun its 70th anniversary year by reporting its best ever annual sales results, putting the marque into a commanding lead ahead of all of its supercar rivals.
However, now it needs to stay ahead without diluting its brand desirability.
A high tide raises all ships and the same is true of the supercar world. Every major exotic car maker has set a new sales record in 2016 -- Lamborghini has sold 3457 cars for the first time in its 54-year history; McLaren (only in business since 2011) saw a near 100% increase in sales to 3,286 cars.
Yet both figures pale into insignificance against those of Ferrari, who on Thursday revealed it has sold a staggering 8,014 cars.
"We are satisfied with the progress we have made," said company CEO Sergio Marchionne, indicating that the ultimate aim is to progress to 10,000 unit sales per year before 2025. The demand is clearly there with every limited edition Ferrari announced over 2016 selling out before its reveal. However, the company now faces a delicate balancing act as it wants to build its client base but without diluting Ferrari's exclusivity.
That's why the company has decided to mark its 70th anniversary by building 350 celebratory Ferraris. Each one will be based on a current-generation car, but will be unique in terms of fit and finish with details that reflect an iconic Ferrari of the past. What's more, the company will be deciding directly who will and will not be allowed to be considered as a potential owner -- the very definition of exclusivity.
However, over the longer term, Ferrari intends to swell its figures by catering for the growing demand for a supercar that can be driven every day.
McLaren moved into this territory with its Sports Series line -- the 570s and 570 GT -- at the start of 2016 and these models have been the driving force behind the company's record-breaking sales.
"2016 was a remarkable year," said McLaren Automotive CEO Mike Flewitt. "We'd planned it to be a year of considerable growth, thanks to the first full year of Sports Series production, but it's surpassed even our own optimistic expectations, having seen development in all regions."
In this respect, Ferrari has already launched a V8 turbocharged version of its four-seat GTC Lusso4 model but the big move could come as early as 2018 when the company resurrects the Dino.
It will have a twin-turbocharged 500hp+ V6 engine and the hope is that it will quickly expand Ferrari's appeal among younger drivers, without alienating its committed long-term client base.
Or, in Marchionne's own words, to make the marque more appealing to more people: "without disrupting the DNA of the brand."