It is in the best interest of companies like Ferrari to create limited run super and hypercars to promote their brand by creating exclusivity, increasing market value and generally making their cars some of the most desirable on the road. It seems that Ferrari has this down pat. With incredibly loyal clientele and one of the most sought after brands in the world, Ferrari has perfected the art of never putting the customer first. Instead, they force even their most loyal customers to beg and plead for their latest masterpiece. They do this with system that looks at the number of Ferrari’s you own, how many exclusive / classic Ferrari’s you own and the length of your ownership for each car; they don’t want to see their cars being purchased and flipped immediately. For example, to be blessed with the opportunity to give Ferrari ~$1.6 million for a LaFerrari you more than likely had to be the proud owner of a 288 GTO, F40, F50, Enzo and a few non-limited run cars like the 458, F12 and things of this nature. The same applies for the limited edition track special, the F12 TDF. A track focused version of the already potent F12, the TDF is being offered to only 799 loyal clients. There, of course, needs to be a system in place that allows for a selection process to take place. It is important that Ferrari maintains its brand image and does not sell their cars to disloyal customers who will immediately flip their brand-new car for a massive profit. Yet, the system is intrinsically flawed and many people are not happy with it. A Florida Ferrari collector sued the company when he was not offered a LaFerrari Aperta when he felt he met all of the criteria of a customer that should be offered that car.
Yet, angry customers are not unique to Ferrari. McLaren customers have filed a class action law suit against the company for, as they say, misleading them about the company’s plans for the hierarchy of the cars they produce and degrading their precious and valuable cars (the P1). McLaren is also creating unhappy customers by reintroducing limited editions of an already limited edition car. When 500 units of the mighty 675 LT were introduced, a track focused version of the 650 S, they were sold out almost instantly. The 650 was a huge hit and this car’s value would surely appreciate. Just months later, McLaren announced that 500 more units of the 675 LT would be produced in a spider configuration. This decreased the value and of the original 675 LT and did not make many people happy. Yet, McLaren was cut some slack as they were seen as a relatively young company in the production car realm and all was forgiven. However, just recently McLaren again announced an even more limited version of the already limited 675 LT called the 688 HS. With only 25 units going into production this is an exceedingly rare car, but in my eyes, represents a lack of transparency in the company and could lead to problems later on. Lamborghini has been doing this for years with minor variations on a very similar platform with limited edition after limited edition; the market understands this now. The appreciation of these cars is nothing compared to that of a limited edition Ferrari.
In the midst of the anger and the greed Ford has observed and seemed to learn something from all of this. With the launch of the 2017 Ford GT, Ford had an opportunity to right the wrong when it came to a selection process. They created an online application system where anxious customers were asked to describe their current and past ownership of classic Ford products, a detailed explanation of their social media presence and then were asked to make a short 60” video describing why they would be a qualified customer for the all-new Ford GT. In my eyes this was an appropriate system. It was a very 21st century approach and gathered huge attention on social media, further promoting Ford’s brand. They received over 6,000 applications for only 500 units promised over a two-year span. This was a massive turn out for an estimated $400,000 car. However, problems have been brewing ever since the rejection and acceptance letters were sent out. Many long time loyal Ford customers were denied the sale while several celebrities who had no history with the company were given the opportunity to purchase this stunning car. This angered a lot of people and now just a weeks after the announcement Ford has announced two more years of production and a doubling of the number of cars coming to market. The third year of production will sift through previous applicants that have been waitlisted while the fourth year will open the applications back up to the rest of the world.
This is what troubles me. The 2004 – 06 Ford GT were originally sold for ~$150,000 and are now trading for anywhere between ~$300,000 – $500,000. For a company that is not in the business of racing at Le Mans regularly and making super cars this was a huge success. However, over 4,000 units of this car were produced of the 2-year period. Applicants for the new Ford GT are going to be asked to deal out ~$400,000 for their new 2017 Ford GT and they deserve to be given a fair chance to predict the market. Of course, it can be expected that the value of this car will go up in value. However, the appreciation of a car with 500 units produced and 4,000 units produced will be drastically different. I expect that because Ford has not explicitly placed a limit on the number of new GT’s that will go into production it could continue to rise until there is no longer sufficient demand for the car and I am 100% O.K. with that. I personally think these cars are made to be driven and not traded, however, I understand that when you’re dealing with this amount of money there is a lot more at stake. And it is for that reason I think for should be transparent and forthright about their plans and expectations. If they announce that they will continue producing cars until there is no longer a demand for them then so be it. That is a valid decision and a decision that no one looking in can make for Ford. However, if they lead their customers to believe that they will produce only a limited number of units and continue to extend the production life until the market is saturated then I have a problem. This will continue a precedent for car companies around the world to
In any case, Ford has been doing something right. With the massive amount of attention Ford’s new Focus RS and GT have been getting their brand is moving in a different direction. I am also interested if this is the direction they want to go in because of their recent announcement of a fully autonomous driving fleet by 2021. That discussion is going to have to wait for another day. Keep driving my friends.