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InterviewFerrari Middle East GM: “Clients want the newest things here”

Words by Edgar Daily

Ferrari Middle East General Manager, Giorgio Turri, explains how challenging it can be to stay ahead of the game.

Ahead of the recent Ferrari Cavalcade debut in the Middle East, we sat down for a chat with the brand’s Middle East GM, Giorgio Turri.

We discuss the pressures of planning the international event, demanding customers, a very lengthy waiting list and more.

Ferrari Cavalcade

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Ferrari Middle East The cavalcade is had a spectacular backdrop

Ferrari Cavalcade

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Ferrari Middle East One of the imported vehicles on display

Tell us a little about yourself…

I was born in Parma, Italy. This is the district of motorsport with Lamborghini, Maserati and, of course, Ferrari all within a short distance of each other. I took a degree in economics and began work with Ferrari.

I was appointed marketing director for Ferrari in Europe, Middle East and Africa in 2012. I then moved to Dubai in 2015 as sales director for Middle East and Africa. And then in 2018 I was made General Manager of Ferrari Middle East.

That’s quite the responsibility…

Yes, it is a pleasure. I feel a mix of honour and responsibility to be part of the Ferrari family. This is one of the most powerful brands in the world, so we carry the responsibility of our client’s expectations and aim to exceed them.

Who would you say is the typical Ferrari owner?

There are quite a few types. The first is someone who bought a Ferrari a long time ago, then buys a second and before they know it they’re collectors. These are the best ambassadors in the world.

On the other hand, there are other clients that want to live the Ferrari lifestyle. They’re not collectors, but they are very demanding of how they want their vehicles to be customised.

We also have those that are into motorsport and want to use their Ferrari this way, and take them to the racetrack. But there are also those that are quiet, and would just like to use their Ferrari on a daily basis.

It’s hard to define one, but the closest is a mixture of all of these people.

What are the differences between clients here and the rest of the world?

They have amazing taste. They want something unique that is personal to them. Sometimes we see clients here going to Maranello customise their vehicles. They are very demanding and they do not like to wait. But we have a waiting list so they have to be patient.

How long are people waiting on the list?

I would say approximately one year [from purchase to drop off]. But the year is well spent. It takes time for the production, but also allows us to get the customisations perfect for the client.

What is the Ferrari Cavalcade?

It’s an event dedicated to the top Ferrari clients and is exclusively invite-only. These people can bring their own cars and drive in beautiful places. The idea is to allow the invitees to lead a 360 degree Ferrari lifestyle. We want them to see things they never expected, or to drive places they never knew existed. We open doors for them that are usually closed.

It’s all about the clients experiencing their to the maximum and taking in the culture of the region. They can then enjoy the company of like-minded Ferrari friends. They ship their cars and fly in from the likes of the US, Japan, China, Italy, London, India and more.

How long has the Middle East cavalcade been in the planning?

We started talking about this a couple of years ago. There were lots of discussions because everything had to be perfect and planned properly. But in total it was one year’s worth of planning, and now it’s time to go.

It’s like planning a wedding then…

It’s slightly more stressful than planning a wedding. It’s a special experience. Cavalcade is the top event that Ferrari organises for its customers. The whole thing was born in Italy in 2012. But since 2015 we have been exporting the event internationally and inviting clients to experience it in different countries. We had one in the US and Japan, and the one in the Dubai is our third.

So why now in the UAE?

It happened in the US and Japan for one important reason – because this was the anniversary of Ferrari in those countries. And now we are celebrating the anniversary of Ferrari in the Middle East. We didn’t come third for no reason – we come on purpose.

I am sure they will see the best that the Middle East has to offer.

Where will you take them?

Well, that’s a secret! The year of study has been invested to find roads and places that aren’t well-known. There will be unexpected places to find. But I can say we’ll be going to Hatta, Jebel Jais and there will be a Ferrari parade in Downtown, too. And then we’ll take them to Abu Dhabi to the Ferrari World and many other places there.

How does Ferrari stay ahead of the game?

It’s not easy. We try to apply the same philosophy as we do the product development. Enzo Ferrari always used to say “the best Ferrari is always the next one”, so whenever we do something we’re already thinking of ways to make it better.

We live under the pressure of being dissatisfied with the present knowing we can improve it. With an event like this, we try to tune into our clients and predict what they want and what they will impress them.

Are there new vehicles coming soon?

We have a lot to announce in the next few months, but I can’t divulge this information just yet. Let’s say they surpass expectations.

Do you feel Ferrari contributes to elevating other Italian brands in the UAE?

The ‘Made in Italy’ stamp is a promise that we will offer clients a true Italian experience. And every single brand has to continue this promise and high level of quality. We are part of this, and enjoy our position here and keeping the bar high. So yes, we all benefit from each other in that respect.

What challenges do you face in the Middle East?

Meeting expectations. The Middle East is still young, but we have been here for 30 years. The market is growing quickly, and the clients here are more interested in the next new vehicle, or the latest customisations or even new events – they want the latest thing. Everything we do has to be in line with the high standards that we set ourselves.

What three words best describe Ferrari?

Heritage – 70 years of history and the racing DNA that we have in our company since the beginning.

Excellence – This is what we’re looking for and what our clients want.

Innovation – Our history has always seen us bring something to market that they’ve never seen before.

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