Ferrari believes economy has turned a corner
Ireland's only Ferrari dealer is so confident about the future that it has splurged more than €1.2m on a massive new showroom.
Charles Hurst Ltd, which holds the Ferrari franchise for Ireland, expects 2013 to be a record sales year, according to director Richard Stinson, as the group regains ground lost in the economic crisis. It also sell Maseratis from the uber-stylish new showroom in Belfast.
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Given that there isn't much change out of €250,000 for a used Ferrari 458, it's pretty clear that demand for these motors is a real barometer of consumer confidence – of the billionaire and multi-millionaire class. Along with buying Hermes Birkin bags, bottles of Krug Clos du Mesnil champagne or a Hublot Tourbillon Solo Bang watch, dropping hundreds of thousands of euro on a red car provides real insight into the minds of the super-rich.
If they think it's a good idea, they are either bonkers or they feel the future is going to be brighter.
Buying a Ferrari is a long-term investment too. The waiting list to get your hands on one of these super-cars is about two years, and you'll need to drop some serious wedge for the deposit. Ferrari will also do some digging to make sure you're the right sort of person. These cars aren't for complete oiks.
There are around 400 Ferraris in Ireland, with well-known enthusiasts including ESB chairman and part-owner of the Merrion Hotel Lochlann Quinn, Rosanna Davison's other half Wes Quirke and JP McManus's family. The average age of a Ferrari driver is around 47.
Last week, close to 100 well-heeled Irish Ferrari clients and prospective clients or tyre-kickers turned up at an exclusive petrol-head soiree to view some of the group's finest super-cars.
Changes in the car VRT regime have also added much-needed stimulus to the top- top end of the market, and Ferrari's north European chief Matteo Torre now expects to sell around two dozen Ferraris a year, with the biggest pick-up in the Republic likely to come in 2015 as the economy rebounds with more vigour. Watching the waiting list grow is as good a sign of an economic recovery as waiting for green shoots to start piercing the ground.