Musings on the Motoring World

Ferrari’s Purosangue SUV will sell, because it’s a Ferrari

From the numerous reports that have been written over the past few months, it is no surprise that Ferrari will produce their own SUV. But here is a depressing thought; Ferrari’s new SUV – the upcoming ‘Purosangue’ will sell, and probably sell more than enough to line Maranello’s pockets to ensure the viability of its future descendants.

As expected, there is already no shortage of outrage and gnashing from the unwashed masses at the news that a Prancing Horse badged SUV is in the works, but like the groaning of mortals appealing to the gods of Olympus, such disparaging words are ultimately ineffectual to the company’s powers that be.

The only hope for the disgruntled is that the true Ferrari enthusiasts, the one with actual money to buy their cars new, will be disgusted by the thought of a jacked-up Ferrari and collectively snub it, hopefully in numbers significant enough to force the company to backtrack on their decision and retroactively erase its very existence. Don’t bet against that horse too soon though, as such a scenario is as unlikely as the vast majority of us suddenly becoming rich enough to be a Ferrari clientele.

Although no details or images of the Purosangue are forthcoming – even the name might be a placeholder and has yet to be finalised much like how Maserati’s Kubang later became the Levante – it is pretty certain that Ferrari customers are going to flock to it like the latest Apple product. Cheque books at the ready to get their names on the SUV’s order books, though not for the same reasons that made Porsche’s Cayenne a runaway success.

Ferrari, understandably, assured media outlets that the Purosangue will “be unmistakably a Ferrari” and will come with “features that have never been seen before”, though what that means will only be made clear when the real deal comes out, which is something Ferrari hasn’t mentioned yet. Such declarations would be of little endorsement to Ferrari customers simply because of how Ferrari sells their cars rather than how good their cars have been of late.

Simple transactional selling, exchanging cars for money, is for simpleton car makers, but Ferrari is and always has been in the business of selling dreams, and they are good at it. That “making one car less than the perceived demand for it” strategy has worked wonders in elevating their brand to a mythical status. While their standard model range of supercars are available to anyone with the cash to splash, it is Ferrari’s special creations, the ones that any enthusiast or collector would sell their billion-dollar company stake to own, that will need some coaxing just to get the privilege to be invited by Ferrari to buy.

It is no secret that to be privileged enough to buy these exclusive special editions like the LaFerrari, SP1 and SP2 Monza, or any limited edition creations, you would have to buy several Ferraris new from a dealership. The more expensive, the better, and the higher your chances are to be noticed by your favourite Ferrari dealership who will hopefully forward your name to the shortlist of invitees to buy the next special Ferrari special.

On the face of it, it looks like any other customer loyalty programme, but few – if any – customer loyalty programmes reward loyal customers with an opportunity to spend more money to buy exclusive services/goods. This level of customer devotion where higher paying members fork over more to climb up the ranks in order to gain more enlightenment over their fellow believers, has more in common with Scientology than a car company, which strangely fits the earlier likening of Ferrari’s higher-ups to Olympus’ deities.

Although many high-end luxury brands depend on close customer ties and will reserve some of the special edition models for the most loyal of customers, Ferrari seems to be the only one who has turned this practice into the main tenant of their business model, and not merely some secondary customer retention strategy stuffed into the sidelines.

Currently, Ferrari is having no trouble selling their latest models, the recently launched 812 Superfast flagship grand tourer is sold out, and that isn’t to mention their exclusive special edition models, which, despite its stratospheric pricing, have routinely been spoken for well before the car is even seen in public. And as The Motor Muse has explained before, this desire for such expensive and limited metal isn’t driven by the cars’ aesthetics or utility qualities, but by its exclusivity, the bragging rights it delivers, and the ego it feeds.

It is with a fair amount of certainty that any purchase of the forthcoming Purosangue will come tacked with some extra brownie points to be added into Ferrari’s elite shortlist. After all, there is no better sign of devotion that signing committing yourself despite the naysayers. Plus it adds variety to any customer’s collection of “stepping stones” to the next ultimate Ferrari.

Ultimately, with the draw of Ferrari’s elite shortlist driving the most affluent echelons of society mad for the latest Prancing Horse, it doesn’t seem to matter if Ferrari makes an objectively superior supercar for its customers. Ferrari knows that from the average Joe right up to their wealthiest and most dedicated of clients, a Ferrari is a dream, and dreams are always best left a touch unfulfilled or never quite made completely manifest.

Just so long as Ferrari continues to make excellent supercars for pundits and its ardent evangelists to continually preach and uphold the very dreams and ideals that only the best and greatest comes from those mythical red gates of Maranello, nobody is likely to be put off by what they create, even if it is something the uninitiated protests.

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