While most supercar makers felt the impact of the global economic crisis with sales falling by up to 50%, Ferrari was left relatively unscathed.
This achievement is being credited to 63-year-old Ferrari Chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo who played a big role in keeping the company on course. Unit sales at the Fiat S.p.A. subsidiary fell by only 4.5% to 6,235 units.
Admittedly, Ferrari's operating profit dropped to nearly 30% to 245 million euros, but the company still had a significant operating margin of 13.8% of revenues. This is still by far, the best result in a year when the industrywide global margin for automakers was in the low single digits.
Montezemolo has been with Ferrari for almost 20 years and during all those years, he has gone through many crises.
And in each of those challenges, Montezemolo had pulled Ferrari through. Many believe that Montezemolo's secret to success is his belief that: “To maintain Ferrari's exclusivity, you must always build one car less than the market demands."
He has also pushed the company to come up with “Ferrari diverse per Ferraristi diversi” (different Ferraris for different Ferrari owners). He encouraged Ferrari owners to have the company produce front-engine models such as 456 GT, 612 Scaglietti, California to complement its core lineup of rear engine supercars.
To keep Ferrari exclusive, it will have to continue to restrict annual production to about 6,000 units annually. Nonetheless, Montezemolo continues to find new ways to turn cash in on the Ferrari brand. Montezemolo also managed a wide expansion in Ferrari’s merchandising and licensing. [via autonews - sub. required]