I’ve just handed back an Audi R8 press car after a very enjoyable months’ motoring. Funny thing is, as a non supercar owner I haven’t seen one for Adam, then all of a sudden I’ve counted over ten. Why is it that as soon as you’re driving one they all seem to come out of the wood work? Surely when times are tough, we should be experiencing a repeat of the 80’s when supercars hit rock bottom prices?
I’ve done a bit of digging and discovered that things are looking rosy, for the supercar fraternity anyway. Having the R8 has got me into some very exclusive places, including one of the UK’s most visited showrooms: Maranello Sales in Egham. Talking with both Ferrari and Maserati sales departments, they tell me that numbers are on the increase. “Despite the 4 month waiting time from the factory, I can’t get enough Maserati Gran Turismo stock”, one salesman tells me. “Since its launch, used prices have gone through the roof because of high demand, and when we do get a part exchange, I could sell it ten times over”.
It seems Ferrari are also on a roll. The F430 has been the companies’ greatest asset. It has continuously sold in big numbers despite the £140,000 price tag. Used stock, like Maserati, is in high demand, yet customers are still happy to wait for a factory fresh car. That has pushed world wide sales to a new high. Factor in the rest of the range and the Italian brand has nudged around 6000 units in 2007. The Maserati factory is also ramping up production ahead of a prosperous 2009. The Italian arm of Ferrari expect over 4000 units this year, with the American market accounting for at least 40 per cent of total sales, with the UK following closely at 25 per cent. Moreover, the home of Ferrari are already outselling luxury brands such as Lexus’ LS and Jaguar’s XJ models. Tough times? Not here.
The story continues for Audi, too. A huge jump for Ingolstadt has seen R8 sales jump by 22.4 per cent. Where as the R8 received a frosty reception after launch with an average of 569 cars, it’s now producing just under 2000.
So why under such difficult financial strains are we seeing happy times in the ‘exotic’ market? Are the financial markets really in such Dire Striates? Well, yes of course, but with oil prices coming down the pressure cooker is finally letting off steam, and it seems that we’ve all been too wrapped up about the world economy. And rightly so. But what has passed under our noses undetected is that our passion for all that is four-wheeled-luxury hasn’t declined. I suppose all we need is a wake up call, to snap out of it and have a good slap around the chops. And here it is. Get out there and snap up your dream car. Now, how much is that Audi R8?