The Rise Of Ferrari
On May 4th, 2020 something wild happens to automotive stocks. The market value of Italian supercar maker Ferrari soared to 30 billion dollars above those of all three major U.S. automakers, General Motors, Ford, and fat Chrysler, which was once Ferrari’s parent company compared with those three giants. Ferrari is a tiny carmaker. It has long been known for limiting production and makes just about 10000 units per year. Compare that with General Motors, which sold nearly eight million cars, trucks, and SUV cars in twenty nineteen. While Ferrari is a small company. It is a huge name. One of the most famous and admired in the automotive world. In late May, a 2003 Ferrari Enzofetched two point six million dollars on an online auction, making it the most valuable car sold in a dedicated online only. Collector car auction to date.
We live in a world that’s only more and more noisy all the time. I like to say there are more and more things going on there. More and more items competing for your attention. And in a world like that, if you’ve got a brand that can stand out, a brand that is universally recognized and can kind of step through and rise above that noise, you’ve got a very valuable brand. And Ferrari in the automotive world would be a perfect example of one of those brands. Perhaps aside from competitor Lamborghini, Ferrari is the name that has given Italy its reputation for producing some of the fastest, sleekest, and most eye-catching cars on the planet. That reputation is so strong.
Ferrari bets it can carry its world-class name far beyond automotive production and sell other goods to the legions of admirers unable to afford a six or seven-figure sports car. This gamble, however, is by no means a safe one. Stamping the Ferrari name on fashion, merchandise and even theme parks risks diluting the brand, especially if the famous pony emblem ends up on some less than premium products. The company has acknowledged this. Ferrari has also stumbled in FormulaOne, the global racing class where elite carmakers battle each other for worldwide recognition. Ferrari did not respond to a request in time for the story over the long term.
The car market, really the idea of transportation itself, stands to undergo tremendous changes that could even affect demand for exotic sports cars. As we move into a world where we’re getting increasingly electrified and potentially shifting away from vehicle ownership towards shared mobility. Is there still a place fora brand like Ferrari in the twenty 40s and the twenty 50s? Ferrari takes its name from founder Enzo Ferrari, an Italian racecar driver who had been racing AlfaRomeo cars since 1924. In 1929, Ferrari founded his own racing team, Scuderia Ferrari, which exists to this day based in Modena, Italy. Scuderi, a Ferrari, was at first a team-centered on racing Alfa Romeos. But about a decade later, Enzo set up a manufacturer called out to Orville, construed Cioni, and moved his headquarters from Modena to the city of Maranello, which would become Ferrari’s legendary home. Thereafter, Ferrari was a car company that wanted to race, and Enzo Ferrari realized he had to sell a few cars to regular consumers so he could fund his racing program. That was literally the mantra and the vibe that started Ferrari. That was what the owner wanted to achieve.
Ferrari commissioned the engineer Dwar KenoColombo, to build him a totally new car in 1945. Ferrari’s first racing car was the one twenty-five s made in nineteen forty-seven. It came with a12 cylinder engine, something frequently seen on Ferrari’s. Later, a street vehicle called the 166 Integra came. A year later, Ferrari started competing in Formula One, the elite global racing series in 1950, and won its first world title two years later. Racing has always been at the heart of the Ferrari brand Scuderia. Ferrari is the oldest Formula One team and has also participated in famous races such as the endurance races at Le Monde, France and Daytona, Florida, continuously.
It’s the only brand that has been continuously part of Formula One racing from 1950 onwards when a world championship was established. And they’ve also been involved in a lot of other motorsports. Unlike other brands, they’ve always tried to keep it relatively pure heel sports and grand touring cars. Being a small manufacturer of highly specialized cars is never an easy path to travel. Many such automakers have either formed partnerships with larger companies or been acquired entirely. Ferrari was no different. The Italian automaker Fiat took a 50percent stake in the company in 1969 and increased its stake to90 percent in 1988. Enzo Ferrari son Pietro owned the other 10 percent.
And in 2016, Fiat, which had since become Fiat Chrysler, spun Ferrari out into a separate, publicly-traded company, trading under the ticker symbol race. Ferrari is obviously best known for its cars. But the company has expanded the reach of the Ferrari brand beyond these small, rarefied world of racing fans and lovers of supercars. The late Sergio Marchione, the larger than life CEO of Fiat Chrysler, who also served as Ferrari’s chairman and CEO until his death in 2018, had said in 2014 that he thought Ferrari had a future that went far beyond driving. I actually think cars are almost incidental to Ferrari, Marchione said prior to the company’s initial public offering.
It sounds sacrilegious, but it is truly a luxury brand up to its IPO. Marchione maintained Ferrari was worth at least 10 billion euros, around 11 billion dollars, according to toMay 2020 exchange rates. Some analysts thought that number sounded a bit high, with at least one valuing the company at roughly half that. But if market capitalization is any indicator, the company is worth about three times that just a few years later. Its revenues have not tripled in that time. Rather, the company and investors have been betting that brand recognition is an underexploited asset.
At Ferrari, the Ferrari name and the famous yellow and black prancing horse logo are recognized the world over brand finance, a firm that measures the impact of various brands, considers Ferrari to be the most powerful brand in the world. Its fame either rivals or exceeds that of not only other global luxury symbols such as Rolex andAir May, but also the brand power of massive information technology and entertainment names such as Disney and Google and even purveyors of seemingly ubiquitous products such as Coca-Cola. This is especially striking when one considers Ferrari sells about 10000 cars per year. When Coca-Cola says it hands out one point nine billion servings of one of its drinks every day. They’ve been quite cautious about what they’re doing, but the kind of primary.
The primary thing that they’ve been really focused on is making sure that their models are really strong and they maintain their reputation for just for excellence in motorcars while not devaluing or reducing the strength of that brand. So Ferrari is looking for new ways to leverage that brand power. The company said it plans for branded goods to contribute 10 percent of earnings before interest and tax within the next decade. This includes merchandise such as clothing, coffee mugs, and watches. The company operates its own stores and sells goods online through the years.
Ferrari has stamped its logo on an array of products, including some very offbeat ones like Acer, laptop computers, and mahjong sets. There is also a Ferrari world theme park in Abu Dhabi, complete with roller coasters. But there is definitely an opportunity to make a lot of money from their brand. I mean, if it’s closely connected to their brand and their experience, like in the case of the theme park, then that’s probably good, because you can maintain the connection and the maintain sort of how the brand is perceived and seen to customers. And you have quite a lot of control over that. Of course, there are risks to this. The company acknowledged in filings that its attempts to reach more customers through merchandising could lead to some missteps.
Branding is a tricky business. Part of what gives Ferrari its brand identity is exclusivity. The ten thousand one hundred thirty one cars it sold in twenty nineteen came after the company decided to lift its once strict production limit of 7000 cars per year. Waiting lists for Ferrari cars can belong. Buyers can wait four to five years for delivery of most customized Ferraris. The company is also known for being very picky about who it will even sell some of its limited-edition vehicles to. Late racing legend and devoted Ferraricollector Preston Henn, who passed away in 2017.
Had sued Ferrari, alleging that the company refused to sell him a Ferrari. Appeared to Hend had gone to great lengths to get the car. Even Mei-Ling million dollar check to Sergio Marchione. The check was returned. Hend slapped Ferrari with a defamation suit, which he later dropped. Then he bought an accurate NSX, a supercar from Honda’s premium brand, which he said was better than a Ferrari. Anyway, the company has at times seemed even aggressive in controlling what its cars are associated with. In twenty nineteen, German fashion designer Philip Plein reportedly received a letter from lawyers representing the automaker complaining about pictures on his Instagram account.
The lawyers considered personal distasteful, including pictures of shoes on the car and other photos. The letter said, tarnished the brand’s image. The letter demanded Plein remove the pictures within 48 hours. The pictures and the image of the letter, which Flynn also posted, were later removed. It remains to be seen whether the company will be able to police the use of Ferraribaseball caps and key chains. But these efforts can fit Ferrari’sLux brand image in twenty nineteen. It formed a partnership with high-end Italian clothier Giorgio Armani. For example. The company has cut back on its number of licensing partnerships and reduced the number of licensed products.
When you start merchandising into lots of different product categories about which you don’t really know the details about how you don’t know how to maintain quality, it starts to get more difficult. This is why I think they have reduced the number of agreements that they’ve they’ve got in terms of licensing by 50 percent and they’ve reduced the number of categories by 30 percent. Apart from preserving its exclusive brand image, the automaker takes seriously the need to prove its engineering prowess and capability on the racetrack. Scuderia Ferrari has a remarkably successful overall record in Formula One. But Ferrari noted in its20 19 annual report that the team had struggled that year.
Sponsorship brings in about 14 percent of Ferrari’s net revenue, but its reputation as a winner on the track is difficult to put a price on speed, as at the very heart of Ferrari’s identity. One of its most famous vehicles is referred to as the super-fast. Racing is also very important for Ferrari research and development. Many of the innovations that begin life on the track eventually make their way into Ferrari’s street vehicles. And unlike a lot of other brands that have had that, you know, that race on Sunday, sell on Monday kind of philosophy, you know, with Ferrari, there’s actually been a lot of technology that has filtered down from the race cars into the production cars, you know, when they first went from manual transmissions to semiautomatic transmissions.
That was technology that they took directly from their Formula One race cars. Ferrari has said it intends to take steps to win on the track again, and despite its branding and merchandising efforts, it remains focused on building cars. Ferrari unveiled a record five models in 2019. Among these. The company introduced its first production plug-in hybrid. You know, the Ferrari history is still what’s most fascinating to me and the history that that that brand stands for and the things that accomplished. And, you know, you can’t live in the past forever.
So Ferrari, of course, has to look forward to can’t just always look back. Electrification is a trend. Many in the automotive industry are at least ambivalent about an often divided among themselves over on the one hand. Many see it as an inevitable and welcome development that reduces pollution while delivering in many ways comparable or even superior performance. But part of owning a supercar, say some, is the experience of driving one. And the distinctive engine note produced by high-end engines is part of that experience. Some also argue that cars stand to lose some of their distinctive performance characteristics.
There are tremendous differences in performance among various types of engines. But some argue electric motors are vulnerable to commodification. Well, I mean, one of their most distinctive things is that the kind of ruler of the engine, the engine is what’s driving that brand. At the time. But really, when you’re really producing 10000 cores and it’s pretty likely that some people are going to be able to drive petrol cores probably forever, you know, maybe you don’t need to move into those different areas. However, going after high-end customers was precisely how Tesla built its reputation.
Whereas previous attempts at electric and hybrid vehicles stressed their eco-friendliness, Tesla’s roadster and later model S and X models emphasized luxury and lightning-fast acceleration. When Tesla debuted its Model S performance sedan in 2016, CEO Elon Musk boasted there were only a few other cars that could beat the Model S S’s zero to 60 time of 2.5 seconds. One was the Porsche 918 Spyder and the other was, well, the Ferrari le Ferrari. Ferrari is also working on a sport utility vehicle codenamed the Puto Gay literally pureblood or thoroughbred.
The coronavirus pandemic’s stands to severely threaten the automotive market around the world. But the high-end market is, for better or worse, just not the same as the rest of the market. Investors appear to be betting that companies like Ferrari, which cater exclusively to the wealthy, might be a bit better protected from an economic downturn, always produce at least one fewer vehicle than there is demand. Making sure that they’re not overproducing matching production to demand so that they can keep their prices up so they don’t have to cut their prices.
They don’t have to put incentives on their vehicles and managing that so that they and managing their costs at the same time to maintain their margins. Ferrari’s margins don’t hurt either. Some analysts indicate Ferrari makes an average of about 80 thousand dollars of profit on each car it sells based on the prices of the cars and its annual production volume. That is enough cash to buy a high-end Mercedes, BMW, or Porsche. Its margins are healthy around 24percent, compared with about five percent for most other automakers. In 2020, the company raised its dividend 10 percent over the previous year.
However, it is not bulletproof. Ferrari said in its May earnings announcement that it was lowering guidance on net revenue to between three point seven billion and three-point nine billion, down from 4.5 billion previously. It cut its forecast for adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization to a top range of one point three one billion dollars from a top range of one point five-six billion dollars.
CEO Lewis Camilleri told investors on a call that the company had seen orders canceled in the USA and Australia. But so far, there were no red flags. Still, Ferrari’s performance beat expectations and encouraged investors faced with an unprecedented economic situation. What Ferrari makes is not essential. It isn’t toilet paper, soap or food. But Ferrari does have a world-class brand built over generations. It also has a product. Devoted fans will wait for four years, pay millions, and even file lawsuits to own. That might be, in its way, a very safe bet.
The Rise Of Ferrari