Alberta’s economy may be in a downturn, but Ferrari remains confident that a return to prosperity is near and that its sales are somewhat insulated from a sluggish economy.
Matteo Torre, CEO of Ferrari North America, was in Calgary for the official opening of Ferrari of Alberta on Friday and called the new dealership “an important milestone in the long history of success Ferrari has had in this part of the world.”
Emphasizing the importance, the Calgary outlet is the first dealership in Canada to unveil the new mid-engine F8 Tributo, a twin-turbo 3.9-litre V8 touted as the most powerful V8 the company has ever made.
“Canada is an important market and it’s growing faster than the rest of the region,” he said, pointing out that his company’s business model is largely protected from economic downturn.
According to a provincial outlook released by the Conference Board of Canada in May, Alberta is facing a mild recession.
A European analyst, Philippe Houschis, has said sales of premium cars have probably peaked globally, threatening the business model of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
Torre does not see the same thing happening with Ferrari.
He said it’s difficult to compare Ferrari to the other brands.
“I don’t know what the exact strategy for a volume manufacturer is, but clearly it is a very dense market,” he said, adding that Ferrari’s business model “protects us in a downturn.”
At Ferrari, production is driven by demand, he said. He also indicated there will be four more new vehicles besides the F8 unveiled in 2019.
“We generate the demand first and then follow with production. That’s why our residual value stays strong and our waiting list very long. We work to generate the demand and satisfy that demand partially.
“That’s our philosophy. The rest of the industry is playing a different game.”
As manufacturers move to greater electrification, Ferrari has begun a move to hybrid power with the just-unveiled SF90 plug-in hybrid which uses three electric motors linked to its V8 turbo. A turbo-V6 plug-in hybrid has also been confirmed.
Beyond that, Torre isn’t talking about new product other than to say there’s no plan for a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle and certainly no plan for an autonomous-driving Ferrari.
“The joy and pleasure of driving our car is a big selling point,” he said. “You get emotion out of it. You feel the performance. It is not just point A to point B.”
Any changes are performance driven, he said. “We look at every technology with great attention, but we are not followers, we want to be leaders. Whatever we do, the car is built around performance.
“We make the driving easier, but we want a driver behind a steering wheel.”