Who wants to buy a Ferrari? It's not who you might expect

Plumbers, builders, electricians and architects are the new breed of wealthy owners joining the queue to own a Ferrari.

Riding the heights of the property boom and an associated boom in home improvements and construction, increased wealth has seen many formerly in the middle class now capable of shelling out upwards of $400,000 to own one of the world's most exclusive and desirable marques.

Speaking at the launch of the new GTC4 Lusso Ferrari Australia president and CEO Herbert Appleroth says the buyer demographic is changing rapidly.

"There's always been a lot of people with a lot of money but, interestingly, they weren't motivated to reward themselves. Now they're wanting to reward themselves," says Appleroth.

"Their primary home and their investment properties are doing extremely well, there's low unemployment, the business confidence is quite good because they're usually their own business owners, they tend to be sole traders … whether it's a plumber or electrician or an accountant.

"That's been where the biggest growth has been. This is all being fuelled by the property boom."

Spreading out

Gone are the days when fancy cars were the exclusive domain of Double Bay or Brighton.

Recently Ferraris have spread to the suburbs as increased wealth increases the propensity for people to splash out on discretionary purchases.

Appleroth cites research that shows were the highest number of new Ferrari registrations were located.


"It wasn't the postcodes of Mosman or Point Piper or Vaucluse; it was Cronulla, Pyrmont, Parramatta. These were all suburbs that were rating in the top 10 suburbs of Sydney for percentage of Ferrari ownership."

Again, Appleroth credits the property boom for the broadening of the traditional buyer base.

He also says the decades of Ferraris being so elusive and desirable have ensured there is a constant stream of fresh demand.

"People have dreamt for years and years since they were small kids of owning a Ferrari," says Appleroth. "These builders, plumbers, electricians; anyone in the support specialised trade is benefiting because they've got more trade."

Young at heart

The spreading of wealth created by the property boom has also seen the average age of Ferrari buyers drop substantially.

"If you look at the average age of a Ferrari owner [in Australia] is 48 years of age … it's come down from 54," says Appleroth, adding that the average age globally is 51.

"It's the youngest average age in the western Ferrari world. China is still younger."

Appleroth says locally-made V8s may have been in the driveways of people who can now buy the purebred Italian sports cars.

"Ten years ago they were probably buying the HSV utes and what have you and they've always dreamt of a Ferrari."

Competition is catching

Outright sales aren't the only measure of success for Ferrari.

In fact, it deliberately limits supply so as to increase the mystique of the brand and ensure resale values remain solid; by making new cars rarer and it naturally creates demand for used ones, something that has seen some Ferraris appreciate.

A brief look at the sales charts shows key rivals such as Lamborghini and McLaren are catching Ferrari's sales in Australia.

While Lamborghini sales have dropped for the first five months of this year they have grown in prior years. Relative newcomer McLaren has also experienced growth, now selling about half the cars of Ferrari.

"Other brands [are] tripling, quadrupling their volume in a very short period," says Appleroth. "We've decided to have a very progressive growth curve in Australia and not to overflood the market and always keep the focus on depreciation."

Appleroth acknowledges that limiting supply in some ways gives competitors a leg-up, but he isn't fazed.

"Our competitors are great starter Ferraris," he says. "Even if they're not willing to wait two years for Ferrari they can try a competitor but they'll always yearn for a Ferrari, and that's the difference."

8 is for luck

Yesterday Ferrari announced the price of the 812 Superfast, a car Appleroth describes as "our most successful model ever".

Not that the price will be a concern for the dozens who've joined the queue to splash out on a machine costing $610,000 plus on road costs. 

People are still joining the queue despite knowing their delivery relies on someone else dropping off the list.

"Our expectation for this market over the full life cycle of this model has already been sold one and a half times," says Appleroth.

He says the appeal of Ferrari's most powerful V12 engine ever – V12s have been the heroes since the first Ferrari in 1947 – is magnetic.

"There has been a huge movement towards V12. There's something special about that Ferrari V12 and the reaction is an indicator of that."

The 812 Superfast is also expected to be the last Ferrari to get a naturally-aspirated V12 engine.

All future iterations of the brand's flagship are expected to use a hybrid system and/or turbochargers in concert with the V12.

Appleroth acknowledges the chance to own a significant piece of Ferrari history doesn't hurt.

"We've seen what's happened with 458 Italia, Spider and Speciale," he says, referring to strong demand for what was the last naturally aspirated V8-powered Ferrari sports car.

Prices have remained strong and, in the case of some, including the track-focused Speciale, have actually increased.

That's created another problem for Ferrari – maintain a flow of near-new used stock.

"A lot of these people would naturally trade in those cars when they're ordering their 488 but they're actually keeping them," says Appleroth. "Like a work of art, they believe that it's an appreciating asset, so why sell if they don't have to?"

He says there will always be a soft-spot for naturally aspirated sports cars, something increasingly rare as the four-wheeled world turns to turbochargers to meet stricter emissions targets in some markets.

"They've driven our turbo product and they love it and they've brought it but there's a historic connection with naturally aspirated. There's a direct link to the past, nostalgic."