How to launch a supercar: PH Blog

Grandiosity, chutzpah and pandering to the wealthy elite weigh heavily in the political news at the moment, a certain Mr President embodying to many the very worst of these personality traits. They have a place though. And that place is the Geneva motor show, the one such event I actually look forward to each year. That's partly because it's small enough to get around and see cars and people. But also because it's a bit of a soap opera and a chance to get vicarious thrills observing first world types suffer first world problems. Like realising they're not on the list to buy whatever new supercar has just been unveiled.

Because the reality is if you're at the Geneva show with a suitcase of money and desire to buy the newest and latest you're probably already too late, the real deals done out of the public eye and often before the new car has even been built. But there's schadenfreude to be had in watching an extravagantly coiffeured gent with the de rigueur tanned skin, slicked shoulder length grey hair, posh timepiece and (in one case I saw last year) poodle in a handbag stare forelornly at a 911 R and realise he didn't stand a chance in hell of getting one either. You and me both, mate.

And so to Ferrari, the absolute masters of the stage-managed Geneva unveiling and able to masterfully channel aforesaid chutzpah in such a way as to make everyone else look a bit amateurish. They do, after all, have some previous.

While others unleash prolonged campaigns of teaser images, technical titbits, secret viewings for journalists and customers under pain of death embargoes and all the rest Ferrari just pulls the covers off - as it has with the brilliantly named 812 Superfast - at a time of its choosing and ropes off its stand to all but the very VIPest of VIP guests. And the odd hack, if we can catch the PR's eye while desperately trying to avoid looking like Alan Partridge shouting across a car park. Either way, watching entitled types getting bluntly turned away from The Rope at the Ferrari stand is one of my favourite Geneva pastimes.

My favourite ever Ferrari moment was the unveiling of the LaFerrari. Remember this was the show with the P1 and a number of other big debuts. But cool as you like Luca di Montezemolo wandered on stage, whipped the cover off a car nobody had seen before and, as everyone looked up from their phones and mouthed "Ferrari THE Ferrari?", said something like "this is the fastest, most advanced, most exclusive car we have ever made and will be made available to only our most important customers, it costs a million, we're only making 500 and they're all sold - ciao!"

And THAT is how you launch a supercar.


P.H. O'meter

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Comments (16) Join the discussion on the forum

  • ukaskew 17 Feb 2017

    I've never understood the logic of so many cars getting launched at the same time at events like these (similar with cameras, that pretty much all get launched during the same week each year).

    Surely it's better from a marketing perspective to pick any other week of the year when publications/websites etc are likely to devote far more column space to it, rather than it potentially get lost amongst the noise of 15 other cars?

    I get it for small/niche manufacturers at the event itself (captive audience), but Ferrari/McLaren etc? Do they really need to generate sales at these events?

  • Maldini35 17 Feb 2017

    Ferrari could only do that because they had contacted their best customers and held private previews before the show - which you imply in your article is only something other grubby brands have to do. ????? Doesn't make sense.

    It was top drawer showing off but not really a launch template.

    Would you still think it cool if you came into some money in the future and were excluded in a similar fashion?
    Especially when the likes of Gordon Ramsey happily flaunt the fact that they did 'make the grade'. eek

    Still, probably not a worry worth keeping us awake at night smile

  • McAndy 17 Feb 2017

    A good supercar launch: it looks bloody fast when unveiled.

    Anything else is unnecessary marketing bullst. I type "unnecessary" quite deliberately, as the limited run cars are all sold out at unveiling and the newly-moneyed are now in a position to buy whichever Lamborghini, Ferrari or Porsche that they desire (all all of them).

  • Raudus42 17 Feb 2017

    I remember as a car mad kid in the 70's, the Countach was the daddy of supercars. It was a reclusive beast...even getting pictures of one was hard. I treasured my set of Top Trumps for the yellow pre S model that was in it.

    Creating mystique around a model can elevate it beyond it's actual abilities, and a perfect car to use would be one that is already sold out such as LaFerrari. Why let journos at them...they're not going to sell any more.

    These days supercars are ten a penny - sometimes I take my boys who have inherited the car bug, around the garages of Cheshire to check out what's in stock; Ferrari; Lambo; Aston; McLaren; a few independents...and it doesn't really do much for me. But, seeing any one of these on the road is still a buzz. A car on the road is worth eight in a showroom.

    Anyway, getting back on topic...mystery can do a lot for a car, providing it's a good car to begin with. I'd liken it to a woman in lingerie compared to totally naked with everything hanging out (literally); can be more exciting.

  • D200 17 Feb 2017

    Raudus42 said:
    Anyway, getting back on topic...mystery can do a lot for a car, providing it's a good car to begin with. I'd liken it to a woman in lingerie compared to totally naked with everything hanging out (literally); can be more exciting.
    I think, for most, going to these car shows is going window shopping in the red light district in Amsterdam wink

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