How Ferrari Is Losing A Generation Of BuyersS

(Robert Maduri is looking for a new car to add to his stable, but the stodgy and stuffy Ferrari buying experience is making him look at a newcomer to the scene. — T.O.)

Time. Many people view it as an enemy, ready to snatch every person, thing and object at some point or another. Others view time as a companion, making sure we cherish each moment.

I view time as a constant, something you can use to learn from and adapt. History has a tendency to repeat itself. The foolish are the ones who feel the rules no longer apply to them.

One lesson learned, most successful businesses eventually fail. The most unstoppable juggernauts come to a halt. Empires fall. It's a natural progression in life.

Arrogance can be one of your biggest faults in this battle. And trust me, business can be an intense battle.

I consider myself to be a moderately successful guy. I purchased my first Ferrari for my 27th birthday. Many would consider that a pretty young age to achieve that status.

That Ferrari 360 was something I had my mind set on. It was a moment of achievement and accomplishment. I knew what car I wanted, what options, colour and model. I knew all that before stepping foot into the dealership. I ended up purchasing it private but that was attributed to the inability to fill the order in the time I wanted it.

But it's been a few years and it's time for something new. This time, I don't have a clear picture in my mind of what I want. It's more of a Picasso painting. It has bits and pieces spread throughout and only at certain angles it looks to be complete.

How Ferrari Is Losing A Generation Of BuyersS

The draw of an Aston is always ever so present. The craziness of a Lamborghini cannot be ignored. Maserati presents relative value for the dollar.

So in a moment like this, it's time to hit up the dealerships and see what the cars are like in person. And that's when the generation gap has never been so evident to me.

I just celebrated my 31st birthday. I've had a solid four years of Ferrari ownership under my belt. It's been a fantastic period and not for a single second am I considering the sale of my prized 360. This is more of an additional purchase.

I spent a day going around dealerships exploring my options. I'm a free agent, a single man, seeing what the landscape is like.

At Ferrari of Ontario I've come to accept the fact that I'll be ignored. I've always wondered why that is. Alex in Parts is a fantastic person to deal with, but I can't say that about anyone else because I'm like a ghost in that dealership. I never imagined it being so hard to give my money to a company.

I showed up in a brand new 2012 Range Rover Sport Supercharged, picking up parts for my Ferrari from the part department and wearing a limited edition Audemars Piguet Chronopassion watch. Still not good enough. Four years, same old story again and again.

How Ferrari Is Losing A Generation Of BuyersS

Across the street from Ferrari of Ontario is McLaren Toronto. In many ways, the enemy to Ferrari, the main rival in all things namely F1, but most recently street legal cars like days gone by.

It took a little persuading by a friend but I agreed to stop by. Why not?

I'm glad I did. Once I entered the dealership I felt like I was home. The design of the showroom floor felt like it was tailored to my generation. I didn't feel like I was stepping on people's toes, or hanging out with my father's friends.

It was ‘Me' time. The second I walked through the door a salesman greeted me, showed me around and asked what he could do to make my day a better one.

Isn't this the way it's supposed to be?

We got onto topics that I'm used to chatting with my friends about. Sleeping in, going out for drinks, F1 talk, and discussing other car brands and their models.

Finally a place that doesn't pretend they're the only company that matters in the automotive world.

Real talk.

I notice a MP4-12C on the showroom floor. Optioned almost identical to what I would build. I asked how much it was and before I could answer the doors were open on the car and I'm told to get a closer look. No concept of ‘don't touch.'

How Ferrari Is Losing A Generation Of BuyersS

They handed me one of the nicest brochures I've ever seen, detailing the build process, the technology behind the car, paint samples, and every piece of information you could possibly need. I've never been offered even the most basic brochure at Ferrari for any model.

It was getting late so we scheduled a follow up for next week. I didn't really consider McLaren that morning but it's funny what customer service could do. Make me feel like a million bucks and I might spend a million bucks.

It's a crazy concept but it works. And I'm left with this undeniable feeling that I'm not alone in this thought process.

Sure, I'm a successful guy that loves wearing shorts and a t-shirt in the summer. I love my cars. I love having fun.

Gone are the days of needing to wear a suit to portray a certain image. I simply don't dress like my father. And if Ferrari of Ontario doesn't change their outlook on their customer relations I find myself thinking they just might lose an entire generation to the more hungry competition.

The dinosaurs went extinct afterall, how crazy is it to think a dealership might eventually meet the same fate?

UPDATE: This story has since been retracted by Maduri .


This story originally appeared on Double Clutch on August 1, 2012, and was republished with permission.

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