Sheehan: Today's Ferrari buyers don't know a Lusso from a 250GTB - Ferrari Life
 
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post #1 of 19 Old 01-10-2010, 08:40 AM Thread Starter
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Sheehan: Today's Ferrari buyers don't know a Lusso from a 250GTB

Has anyone else seen Sheehan's latest emailing that a Ferrari California has $100k worth of possible options to select and his comments about modern buyers?





Today's vintage and collectible Ferrari buyers are usually male Baby Boomers in their late 50s or early 60s who have owned many cars, from Alfa to Zagato, over many decades. They can have one to a dozen or more collector cars, and their Ferraris are usually the top of the food chain in their collection. Most have built their business over decades and pay cash for their toys. They grew up with Italian or British cars and understand and can live with the idiosyncrasies and complexities of the older car. Long term, they view their cars as investments, and a limited-production, coachbuilt, topless or competition Ferrari is expected to be the best one.
New Ferrari dealers have always offered a different perspective, with showrooms graced by the latest offerings from Maranello. Today's new Ferrari buyers are usually in their mid-30s to mid-50s, have "newer" money, and are not afraid to spend it. They want the state-of-the-art, plus the peace of mind of new-car reliability, and will write the check to pay for it. New-car pride of ownership and a factory warranty are an acceptable trade-off against instant depreciation. Their Ferraris are not investments, but then neither are the M-Bs or BMWs that share their garage space. These buyers are unusually disinterested in the older Ferraris and many don't know a Lusso from a 275 GTB
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post #2 of 19 Old 01-10-2010, 09:12 AM
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Just read it. I find the phrase "unusually disinterested" quite intriguing - in my world it is much more unusual if you ARE interested in old Ferraris....

You've only quoted half the article, let me add the other half.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheehan
A dizzying array of options available
For decades the only options on any Ferrari were the paint and interior color. If the buyer was well connected at the factory, he might be able to order an unusual paint or interior color combination. With the reign of Luca di Montezemolo the rules changed, and Ferrari joined other high-end manufacturers with an options list. In mid-1998, Ferrari introduced the Carrozzeria Scaglietti Personalization Program on the 355, 456, and 550, which began modestly by offering "Daytona" seats, modular wheels, fender-mounted "Scuderia" shields, and colored seat piping. With the introduction of the 360 and 575, the options list ramped rapidly upward, with Challenge grilles, carbon fiber interior, engine and intake kits, and so on. Various options packages have been marketed, such as the Fiorano handling package, or the Schumacher option for the 550, and later for the 456, which featured special colors and trim, or the recent Sessanta package for the 612. Ferrari's latest is the Atelier (or Studio) customization program, usually reserved for the 612 and 599 buyers who want to pick out the options for their car at the factory.

The buyer has five minutes of glory
The options lists grew ever longer, and with the new California Spyder, Ferrari has done a masterful job of the up-sell, giving each buyer his five minutes of glory checking off items on the options list, all in the name of today's exclusivity. We start with a plain Jane stripper California Spyder, with gas guzzler and delivery costs included, for a mere $197,349. Under "Racing and Track" options one can add MagneRide Dual Mode shocks for a modest $5,114.

Next on the options list is the "Exterior Colors" section, with an "out of range" paint option for $8,712. If one prefers, he can have Ferrari's "COLORI ANNI '50 e '60" paint for only $10,568. Want to add Scuderia fender shields? Another $1,542. Red brake calipers? $1,259. Black external A-pillars? $1,889. 20" Diamond Finish Sport Wheels? $4,422. How about a carbon fiber rear panel? Another $1,889. And it doesn't stop there.

Moving to the "Interior and Materials" list, one can order a carbon fiber driving zone with LED steering wheel for $6,768. Daytona-style seats for $3,305. Electric seats for another $5,194. Colored seat piping at $865. Colored seat belts for $802. A red tach for $724. Upper carbon fiber trim interior for $5,666 and carbon trim on the door panels for another $5,666. Alcantara passenger carpets will add another $2,407. A dual color interior with Daytona seats will tack on $5,509, while leather and Alcantara will add another $6,296.

Onto the "Equipment and Traveling" category, where an iPod connection is $881. Rear seat luggage is $3,221. Trunk-mounted luggage is another $6,216. Advanced headlights(?) add $1,809, while cruise control is $1,046. A front parking sensor is $1,470, while a rear camera is $3,463. The hi-fi sound system is $5,037....

In all, the California Spyder option list is 61 items long and growing. If one has a big enough checkbook, one could spend $100,000-plus on options--on a $197,349 car.

How about an alligator interior?

A few examples of options gone wild are a Fly Yellow with alligator interior 430 Spyder that resides locally. While the normal MSRP on a 430 Spyder is in the $215,000 range, s/n 152545 had an original MSRP of $413,034--about $150,000 for the alligator seats, door panels, steering wheel, roll bar hoops, sun visors, etc., for $200,000 in total options. One would think that after spending over $200,000 in options, the owner would keep it forever, yet it was back on the local dealer's floor after a mere 285 miles. Sadly for the owner, his very personalized options make the car much harder to sell, and so any equity in $200,000 in options is non-existent, a polite way to say he kissed off two hundred large.

Another example of what can only be described as wretched excess is a 612 Sessanta, s/n 157625. The Sessanta 612 was a limited run of 60 individually numbered 612s celebrating Ferrari's 60th anniversary. While all were heavily optioned, s/n 157625 was truly optioned out with Rolls-Royce Arctic White paint, white quilted leather, power seats, a white tachometer, red stitching and seat belts, diamond-quilted seat and door inserts, carbon fiber interior trim, white carpets and mats, a glass roof, white leather trunk with red stitching, shields, front and rear parking sensors, ball-polished modular wheels with silver center caps and gold Prancing Horses, yellow calipers, carbon ceramic brakes, and more. The price? A modest $450,000. When this car comes up for resale, it will bring south of $200,000, and that number will only keep dropping....

What would Enzo think?

I know I'm giving away my advanced age, but I grew up in a time when owning a Ferrari meant the ultimate in driving experience, usually reserved for long drives on late nights or weekends, often at indecently high speeds. I owned and drove s/n 12547, the alloy-bodied prototype Comp Daytona, as my only car from 1974 to 1977, and hit 150 in 4th gear, every night, on my way home to Laguna Beach. I'm the first to admit that run would be impossible today, as the entire area has been built up and traffic is much heavier.

The performance of today's Ferraris is now so far past speed limits that they are virtually unusable in real-world circumstances. Gone are the days of would-be owners reading Road & Track late into the night and setting their own valves. Like a Rolex or Cartier watch, today's Ferraris have become road jewelry and fashion accessories. And they are eagerly bought by those who can afford to outfit them the way they want. I'm not claiming the old days and ways were better--just different. And the truly wealthy Ferrari enthusiast today can have the best of both worlds: a new California Spyder, customized to his taste, with a warranty, on one side of the garage ready for the daily grind, and a vintage California Spyder on the other for cruising to Cavallino and the Quail.
Although I in principle agree with Sheehan's statements, I have no idea what he wants to say with the article. Is it BAD for a car to have options? Is it BAD for customers to want options? Is it BAD that Ferrari makes money off them?

Maybe he's just observing.


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post #3 of 19 Old 01-10-2010, 10:34 AM
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my observation would be that a certain # of the new buyers will turn into the classic collector's. Pretty much as it has always been. I doubt the stars that were driving around in new 1961 cal spyders knew anything about the 166mm either. but thank god they bought them. not really sure what his point is. Seems like he is jumping on the rousch (Sp?) bandwagon. To what purpose i am not sure. I wish more "new" money would have bought the cal spyders then maybe i could afford one. the higher production of the 328 in the 80's has served that purpose for me. I hate to think of them having only made 800 of them. In a similar vein, i doubt all the people buying the new challenger have ever heard of the scca trans am races in 1970. so what? keeps the prices down.

After reading the whole thing, i think he is an anomoly. i think he is pining for a very thin slice of ferrari history in the 70's when the 50's and 60's cars were under appreciated and nobody wanted them. Making them cheaper to own and making only a diehard want them. That was a very short period in the history which is unlikely to repeat itself. it was the same for the american muscle cars in the 70's. I bought my first '70 challenger 340 4spd in '79 for $600. you couldn't give them away. the hobby was made up of hard core knuckleheads like me that sat around looking at factory parts catalogs for fun. that has also changed. I'm not really bitter. all i can say is when all us 40-60 yo dies these kids are gonna have a lot of cool muscle cars cheap.



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post #4 of 19 Old 01-10-2010, 10:59 AM
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Except for the racers, most Ferraris were bought by the rich and famous throughout the years. Did Ingrid Bergman have any more car knowledge than Britney Spears? I doubt it, but both had contemporary convertible Ferraris. And many new owners are "car guys". I think he has no point except that the volume of cars is higher now, so there are literally more non-"car guys" with Ferrari's now. I doubt the percentage is any different.

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post #5 of 19 Old 01-10-2010, 02:10 PM
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Sounds like regret for days gone by and yes I do believe he's showing his age... I'd have to agree with him also for the most part. Owning a new ferrari is different from owning an old one. And I also agree that for 99% of those new buyers the cars built today are WAY outside the limits of their driving skills. Even with all the driver aids that are built in.

Options and colors have replaced custom coachwork and engine options. So what? A company like Ferrari, Porsche, RR, or Lamborghini has to adapt to a changing market like everyone else.

As for having a connection with the past... thankfully I'm a member of a club that understands and has an interest in the heritage. I don't really know and don't really hang out with people that buy them as jewelry. I'm sure they're out there. It's interesting to me though that in light of the observation of who buys new ferraris, there is almost no mention of the enthusiast base that keeps the flame alive. Which is whom he is giving his commentary to isn't it? I'm also not sure I buy into believing that most of the new buyers are clueless about the heritage. Maybe in a concentrated area like California but what about the rest of the country or world?

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post #6 of 19 Old 01-10-2010, 04:38 PM
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The prefer the kind of jewelry that goes fast through the corners.
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post #7 of 19 Old 01-11-2010, 07:18 AM
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I thnk Mike is just making general observations on the issue of options, with the overall message of not shooting yourself in the foot in terms of re-sale by going too crazy with wacky option combos.

As to the age-old question of who buys Ferraris and what their motivation is, I have no idea what the ratio of serious car guys-to-posrurs who need an automotive life-style accoutrement might be. Those of us on this site probably only know the car enthusiasts because that's who we associate with. Mike S and Gerald Roush probably see a much more statistically meaningful sample since they are smack in the middle of the buyer and seller pool.

those of you in the Mid-Atlantic might get a chuckle out of this article - scroll to the bottom of:
http://www.bisnow.com/washington_dc_...ory.php?p=6443

Do any of you know any of these guys that were at this party?? I know a couple (clients) and they are certainly not car guys the way you and I think of such. But the "new" FoW appears to me to be marketing almost exclusively to the "lifestyle" type of buyer.

The likelihood of a new Ferrari owner being a wrench guy is becoming less and less as the years go by; this is not necessarily the fault of Ferrari marketing and the phenomena of Ferrari making tons of lira on licensing the prancing horse for lunchboxes and Barbie. The fact is that all the manufacturers have made it just about impossible to work on your cars anymore, unless you have a bunch of proprietary tools, including a $50,000 diagnostic computer. How many 18 year olds knew their way around a Holley 4-barrel in 1965 as compared to now? I am not into the "ricer" phenomen at all, but, in truth, I kind of admire these kids tuning their cars w/ their laptops - the mentaility is the same, only the tools have changed.

I think part of Mike and Gerald's lament is that, unlike a lot of other car comapies, racing history is absolutely at the center of what Ferrari stands for. I think appreciation of Ferrari history and appreciation of Ferrari's cars are are inseparable; the DNA of the cars and the philosphy behind the cars go back to the first car that wore a prancing horse (and ALFA!). I am definitely guilty of thinking less of a buyer who has no knowledge of, and no interest in, Ferrari's history and something about a 430/458/California's grandparents. what can be more Italian than famly??

full disclosure; Mike S. and Gerald R have been friends of ours for 30 and 20 years + or -, respectively
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post #8 of 19 Old 01-11-2010, 07:54 AM
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"Amir Hadzimehmedovic (we think we’ve spelled that right), here with ING’s Marc DeLuca, tells us Ferraris are recession-proof."

Not for him! pretty sure they let him go.

106 people on a waiting list for a california. i'd like to see that list.



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post #9 of 19 Old 01-11-2010, 08:36 AM
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Good take Bryan.

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post #10 of 19 Old 01-11-2010, 09:13 AM
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I just hope the "Style" buyers take good care of their cars so the "enthusiasts", like us, can buy them after they have been around long enough to be affordable. And I agree that weird color combo's and other options should be avoided.

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post #11 of 19 Old 01-11-2010, 10:27 PM
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It is fairly easy to see his point. And I agree with it.

He's ultimately remarking on the whole bling/ghetto/gangsta/footballer/tasteless/tacky exotic car buyer who has more money than taste, eg, the alligator interior, bright yellow interior, chrome dubs, etc... all the telltale signs of tastelessness, and lack of respect or heed to heritage.

I applaud Sheehan.
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post #12 of 19 Old 01-11-2010, 10:35 PM
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not that hard folks

this is the kind of outrageous affront to the Ferrari badge and heritage that would make Enzo throw up in his mouth, ie, what Sheehan's article is alluding to:
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post #14 of 19 Old 01-12-2010, 02:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viscount aero View Post
this is the kind of outrageous affront to the Ferrari badge and heritage that would make Enzo throw up in his mouth, ie, what Sheehan's article is alluding to:

Has to be another Saudi Prince. Why don't they just glue gold chains on it, some Neon-lighted Spinners, and boom boxes.

oh, I know: would detract from the vision

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post #15 of 19 Old 01-12-2010, 02:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdkhopkar View Post
yes

however that car would have looked so much better were it not gold and had it better wheels; as it is now, the color and wheels ruin the car --but same can be said of the "Stallone" cars.
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post #16 of 19 Old 01-12-2010, 02:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Granucci View Post
Has to be another Saudi Prince. Why don't they just glue gold chains on it, some Neon-lighted Spinners, and boom boxes.

oh, I know: would detract from the vision
sad but probably true
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post #17 of 19 Old 01-12-2010, 05:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdkhopkar View Post
That doesn't offend nearly half as much as that 599 with the corvette stinger hood on it.

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post #18 of 19 Old 01-12-2010, 08:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdkhopkar View Post
Looks good to me

I'd take it in black or red with challenge wheels in a second! (imho)
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post #19 of 19 Old 01-12-2010, 11:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viscount aero View Post
this is the kind of outrageous affront to the Ferrari badge and heritage that would make Enzo throw up in his mouth, ie, what Sheehan's article is alluding to:
Ferraris have been molested since time immemorial, which is why I'm not following Gerald's point. It might be a question of selective memory that we forget these abominations, but they did happen when Enzo was alive as well.

Just two examples of 43 years ago and 25 years ago.


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