In an interview to Muscat Daily, Giulio Zauner, general manager of Ferrari Middle East & Africa, speaks about the new Ferrari 488 Spider, the luxury carmaker’s market in the Middle East and performance of its other models in Oman and in the region.
What are the unique features of the Ferrari 488 Spider?
The Ferrari 488 Spider is the latest chapter in Maranello’s ongoing history of open-top V8 sports cars. It is Ferrari’s most powerful ever mid-rear-engined V8 car to feature the patented retractable hard top, along with the highest level of technological innovation and with innovative design. The Ferrari 488 Spider is the first retractable hard top introduced from Maranello on a car of this particular architecture.
Following the global debut of the Ferrari 488 Spider in September at the Frankfurt Motor Show, we first unveiled the car in the region at the Dubai Motor Show and it has now finally arrived in Oman.
Just like all previous Spider versions of Ferrari, this is a car that is aimed at clients seeking open-air motoring pleasure in a high-performance sports car with an unmistakable Ferrari engine sound.
How many dealerships represent the Ferrari brand in the Middle East? What were your sales in Oman and in the Middle East last year?
In the Middle East we have 13 points of sale in nine markets, namely the six GCC countries, Lebanon, India and South Africa. The region takes around eight per cent of the total Ferrari production and represents nearly ten per cent of total worldwide sales.
Ferrari is not all about the product and achieving volumes. The brand is more about the innovative applications attached to it and addressing clients' needs in a special way. We prefer to talk more about quality rather than quantity. We have been seeing year-on-year growth in sales of between 25-30 per cent since 2012 in the region.
Are you targeting higher sales in the region or focusing on protecting brand exclusivity?
We like to keep a balance. Exclusivity is more important for us. We never give an additional car to the market if it is not in demand. At Ferrari, we love the quality of service that we provide to our clients. Each time a customer visits a point of sale we ensure that quality of service is top priority.
With economic growth slowing in the region, are you anticipating any decline in sales? Or do you think people will always be eager to purchase expensive supercars?
The momentum is for sure not like what we have seen in the past few years since 2012. But we are not all the time focused on sales numbers or market share. This is not an important consideration for us. We are focused more on the quality and exclusivity of the brand.
The perception of Ferrari in the Middle East region is similar to the rest of the world. Ferrari is one of the most powerful global brands and there is a lot of passion in this region about this brand, which is something unique.
What is the most promising market for supercars in the region? How important is Oman as a market for you?
If we speak in terms of numbers then the UAE is the main market, including both Abu Dhabi and Dubai. All the other GCC markets including Oman are promising.
What models are the best selling? Are the latest models always most in demand?
There is a huge sensibility about the latest models in this region. But all our models are remarkable and have been incredibly popular. We have different types of cars. When you think about speed, comfort and lifestyle then we have cars like the Ferrari 488 GTB, the Ferrari 488 Spider and the California T. We have day-to-day cars like the GTC4 Lusso, which is a four-seat car which could be a family car.
We have been pleased with the reception to the new California T HS option that enhances the California T model. The California T is truly a fantastic option for a daily vehicle. However, in general, the release of a new model always generates the most excitement.