Ferrari CEO says nearly a third of new buyers are under 40, even as wait lists grow

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Despite a waiting list of three years for some of its cars, Ferrari’s CEO said the company has no plans to supercharge production to meet demand.

“We are a brand that is not looking for volume,” Ferrari CEO Benedetto Vigna told CNBC in an exclusive interview from Pebble Beach. “We are a brand that is looking for value and respecting the client. For us, the client is very, very important.

“The client is giving a value to our cars because they are unique, because they are limited, because they are exclusive,” he said. “We could make more, but that doesn’t make sense. We will offend our clients.”

The balance between growth and exclusivity has never been more critical to Ferrari. The company’s share price is up 44% over the past year, at a valuation higher than Ford or General Motor, creating pressure from shareholders to continue its strong sales and volume growth.

Benedetto Vigna, chief executive officer of Ferrari NV, in front of a Ferrari Daytona SP3 sports car at the company’s headquarters in Maranello, Italy, on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023.
Francesca Volpi | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Yet because the famous prancing-horse brand is built on scarcity — and owners who rely on limited production to maintain their cars’ value — Ferrari is also expected to keep tight reign on production.

Last year, Ferrari produced 13,221 vehicles, up 18.5% over 2021. Demand still far exceeds supply, with dealers saying the wait for a new Purosangue SUV and other models is now at three years or more. Many buyers say they can’t even get on the waiting list for a car, since there is simply not enough production.

Founder Enzo Ferrari famously said Ferrari would produce “one less car than the market demand.” Today’s shortfall is far greater, with some analysts saying the company could easily sell twice as many cars as it produces. Ferrari is building a new factory for its hybrid and electric vehicles, but it’s unclear how much Ferrari will increase production.

Ferrari Purosangue
Source: Ferrari

Vigna said that despite limited supply, the company continues to expand its reach among younger, new clients. Its client base has expanded for 10 quarters in a row, and 30% of its new clients are younger than 40 years old, he said.

“Our new clients are 10% younger than all the clients we have in the world,” he said. “So the prancing horse is kicking strong.”

Vigna added that buying a Ferrari should never be easy or quick, since it’s the ultimate aspirational car.

“Getting a Ferrari is an experience that starts from the time you first see a Ferrari,” he said. “It’s not something you can get very easily.”

Racing DNA

Winning in Formula 1 auto racing, however, has also not come easily to Ferrari in recent years. Ferrari is currently in fourth place in the F1 team standings, behind Red Bull, Mercedes and Aston Martin. Vigna said the chief focus for the team is on improving the car.

“This is very important to us, because our DNA is racing,” he said. “We have a car that is the fastest for us so far, but it is not the fastest on the track. So we have to keep improving.”

Vigna quoted Enzo Ferrari as saying, “The person who comes after me will have to take on a very simple inheritance — to keep alive that desire for progress which has been pursued in the past.”

“That’s what we have to do, in racing and in everything we do,” Vigna said. “We have to keep working.”

When asked if Lewis Hamilton, the famed Mercedes Formula 1 driver, might join Ferrari, Vigna said: “We have Charles (Leclerc) and Carlos (Sainz Jr.), they are doing a fantastic job. They are friends, they are competing. So for us, the main priority is for the car to be more competitive.”

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