Late last month, Robert Maduri was incredibly frustrated by the snooty shopping experience he had looking for his next Ferrari. In fact, he was so incensed that he took to the web to express his displeasure.
Maduri's story was republished here on Jalopnik with his permission. Just today, Maduri emailed us to say that the article has been totally retracted and requests it be removed. What gives? Is Ferrari doing to him what they did to Chris Harris after writing about their test cars?
Maduri's post, which was published here as How Ferrari Is Losing A Generation Of Buyers, details his shopping experience at Ferrari Toronto and how he was actually so put off that he went across the street to McLaren Toronto to take a look around.
But today, Maduri's post has been removed from his website, Double Clutch, and we received an email regarding it as well. This is what it said:
I am the author of the article "Losing A Generation". That article has been retracted. I ask that you kindly cease from re-publishing that article, or its content.
So why is this happening?
Ferrari is notorious for having a controlling hand with their cars, even after they leave the showroom. They even make cars that they don't let you keep in your own home.
Chris Harris noted that Ferrari won't even let journalists drive Ferraris that aren't given to them from the factory.
If I want to drive my mate's 458 tomorrow, I have to ask the factory. Will it allow me to drive the car? No: because it is of "unknown provenance," i.e. not tuned.
Our pieces on how Ferrari tweaks its press cars earned him a lifetime ban from Maranello. The only way he'd get to drive a Ferrari again is buying one, which is what he did. Ferrari also shut down communications with us and we've been invited on no Ferrari drives.
Because Maduri dared to speak the truth about what he saw as flaws in Ferrari's dealership practices, he might be facing a good amount of pressure from the Prancing Horse to take the article down so he won't be blacklisted by Maranello.
It could be a personal decision (we doubt it), it could be the dealership, it could be many things. Given how Ferrari's PR team uses its strong-arm techniques against journalists and customers, we can imagine them turning the heat up on someone who spoke out like this.
We've reached out to Ferrari and are yet to hear a comment.