September 9, 2013

Ferrari Exclusive: An Invitation To Maranello, The Capital Of The Rearing Horse

Luca Di Montezemolo, Janina Nectara, Ferrari Maranello 2013

Luca Di Montezemolo and Janina Nectara interview Ferrari Maranello 2013

 Ferrari opened the gates to its Italian museum and factory, in a grand event during which the brand’s strategy for the upcoming years has been revealed. It was one of the most impressive experience I’ve ever had – taking part to the outstanding Ferrari adventure in Italy.

A small group of journalists from all over the world, but mostly from America and Asia, were invited to Maranello, Enzo Ferrari’s place of birth and also the place where Formula 1 supercars are made.

Realitatea TV was the only Romanian television broadcaster to be invited to the Ferrari event, Fashion avec Passion was its partner.

The host was Luca di Montezemolo, the company president himself.

I had just learned that Ferrari had been named ”the most powerful brand in the world”, surpassing brands such as Coca Cola or Hermes. (Between just us, Hermes bags can now be seen on the arms of many ladies, but the production of Ferrari cars is still being held below market demand, precisely in order to conserve the company’s aura of exclusivity.)

Thus, the professionals appreciate that the brand value rises just as much as an acceleration indicator, at 3.5 billion Euro.

I was extremely delighted when I received the invitation and knowing that meeting the representatives of such an exclusive brand would impose an exclusive outfit as well,  I chose to wear Armani.

Wearing my gear for a fashion race I’m determined to win, just like Fernando Alonso, I arrive in Modena, a province known best as ”the capital of engines”. The name does it justice, as the factories of some of the most desired Italian car manufacturers, assemble their engines right here. Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Pagani, are all stationed here. Moreover, one of the Ferrari models has been named after the province, namely, the 360 Modena. In addition, the bright yellow used by Ferrari also goes by the name of ”Modena yellow”.

Janina Nectara Ferrari Museum

And if Modena is the capital of engines, Maranello, a province located a few kilometres away, is surely the Ferrari capital. The entire town is full of billboards, statues and sculptures placed in the middle of the street, all pointing to the brand with which the entire community proudly identifies. The vast majority of the local population works for Ferrari, a tradition passed on from father to son. If not working for Ferrari, the other industries are surely connected in some way to the rearing horse. For instance, all Maranello hotels have a special design of the reception area, to display miniature cars, paintings and a plethora of other items from the Ferrari store. The main attraction is, of course, the chance to rent Ferrari cars and go for a ride around the town or on the special racing tracks. Maranello simply breathes Ferrari, just like tourists from all over the world would expect.

On the first evening, the journalists were welcomed with a cocktail at the Ferrari store, followed by an exclusive dinner inside the Maranello museum, the only official Ferrari museum in the world, visited by 250,000 tourists annually.

We were shown a preview of ”Ferrari From Another World”, an exhibition of what the Italians call ”mulotipi” – secret cars which have never been shown to the public before, created especially to develop new models. These cars are usually destroyed, but some of them (such as the prototype used to test the Enzo engine), were saved, becoming the stars of the exhibition.

Muzeul Ferrari 24

The museum holds the new hybrid La Ferrari, in limited edition, recently launched at the Geneva Auto Salon. It develops the highest power of a Ferrari, all the while featuring a consumption rate dropped down by 40%.

I also got to admire other models that made the brand’s history: the famous F355 – the car that circled th world in 1977, as well as the stars of the Tour of China, India or America.

The trophies won by Scuderia Ferrari in the global championships were also there, as was the hisory of the Formula 1 champions. Films or documentaries depicting the 60 years of Formula 1 races, can be seen in the museum movie theatre, situated right near the wing that features two F1 simulators, which enable visitors to test their driving skills.

In the same space, one can also find a café and a conference room, where Grand Prix races are being broadcasted live.

I could go on forever, but I’ll let the suspense lure you to Maranello.

Muzeul Ferrari 26

The next day featured a trip to the Ferrari factory, recently dubbed ”the best place for work in the entire world”. The company constantly invests colossal amounts in the workplace of its employees, being set to rise to 100 billion Euros in the next two years.

I even met two Romanians who worked in the factory and during our chat, they revealed that they were very proud to be a part of the Ferrari family.

And how could one not be proud, when the Ferrari company puts a private gym or a private medical clinic at your disposal, especially created for the Ferrari team? More than 4 million Euros are being invested annually in the services destined to assure an exceptional level of comfort to people working for Ferrari. We’re talking here about professionals from more than 29 countries, for whom 250 new jobs have been created in 2013. Professionals who are being recruited from the most academic sources, as Ferrari has developed partnerships with some of the most prestigious universities in the world. Brilliant students are invited to join the Ferrari team, even before finishing their studies.

I remember a visit to Oxford University a few years ago, when professors were presenting the Ferrari business as a case study. As of 2013, Ferrari is officially a case study at Stanford University and who knows how many other schools, who carefully analyse the business model of the most powerful brand in the world.

Janina Nectara Maranello Ferrari Factory

I can’t even describe how the factory looks. In one area, you could see huge robots assembling engine sections, never the whole thing, because in order to obtain the ideal performance given by the speed-consumption-weight ensemble, manual labour is still greatly valued in car manufacturing. In another area of the factory, you could see vegetation as luxuriant as in a botanical garden, cohabitating under the same roof with the science fiction robots, in what seemed at first to be a surprisingly natural manner, but which I later found out, is a common thing for the eco-friendly Ferrari buildings. The new Scuderia Ferrari centre has 0 gas emissions, a technology so advanced that it preceeds the reglementations of the European Union for 2020.

Designerul hainelor Ferrari si Janina Nectara  copy

The ”Custom Made” department impressed me greatly. Here, the Ferrari designers prepare the most surprising and most elegant colour and fabric mixes, according to the car model and the personality of special clients. A plethora of leather samples (even the types of bindings are impossible to count), rims, and other accessories, are being displayed to potential buyers, who receive advice in order to create the perfect car, one that is unique and especially designed (mostly manually) for the fulfillment of their needs. This is why it can take up to a year for an order to be ready for delivery. Because, as Luca di Montezemolo said, ”Ferrari is like a beautiful woman: you need to wait for it, because then you know you it will make you happy”

Ferrari Maranello

The pinnacle of my visit to Maranello was the press conference held by Luca Di Montezzemolo, the president of the company himself. He presented the company strategy for the next few years, a strategy set on offering ”different Ferrari cars to different Ferrari enthusiasts”. Luca Di Montezzemolo is a person who manages to impress an audience from the first minute. It isn’t long before you realise that he is a true visionary. A visionary with a perspective of long-lasting business, preceeding, of course, the imagination of Ferrari lovers. This is why each minute, about one hundred items bearing the Ferrari logo of the rearing horse, are being sold around the world, generating an income of over half a billion Euros.

And if the Ferrari factory does not open its gates to just anybody, you definitely must see the Ferrari museum! It is a Mecca for supercar enthusiasts.

At least once in your lifetime you need to visit Maranello. Or Abu Dhabi, which features the Ferrari theme park. It’s visited by over a million tourists annually. It has the fastest roller coaster in the world. Should I mention its top speed? I won’t! But because I know that in your place, I’d die of curiosity, I’ll mention that it veers close the the speed of a plane taking off the ground.

Luca di Montezemolo Ferrari Maranello

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The fascinating story of the Ferrari brand has been featured in the pages of Tabu magazine, the most popular Romanian lifestyle magazine.