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In case you weren’t aware or were having trouble walking into a Ferrari dealership with a few hundred grand expecting to drive away in a new model, we have bad news. Ferrari won’t just sell you a new model. You can’t buy a new Ferrari, no matter what you have, or who you are. (Well, there are some exceptions to that last part.) Here’s why you can’t.

How does Ferrari sell new cars?

Ferrari dealership
Park Avenue Ferrari dealership | Getty

Ferrari makes more than just vehicles. It makes the rules for how you can buy a new model. And you can’t. You must first prove yourself, and it has nothing to do with money. More on that in a moment.

The company has been secretive and stingy with how one buys its cars because it is the most profitable car manufacturer in the world. And the way it has become that is through exclusivity, and in turn, ever-escalating prices. And even in the pandemic-rattled market of 2021, it saw more profit selling fewer cars.

How profitable is Ferrari?

Ferrari dealership
A man washes windows at a Ferrari dealer | Getty

Let’s repeat; Ferrari made more profit selling fewer cars in 2021 than in 2020 or 2019. It goes against logic, but it works for this company. Actually, it worked that way for many auto manufacturers because cars sold for retail price, or even more. It was the old supply and demand deal.

No money on the hood, and no deals. You purchased a vehicle in 2021 by ordering it at MSRP, or you walked into a dealership and did the same, or you walked. COVID shutdowns, microchip shortages, and supply chain issues meant fewer vehicles, but more demand.

In 2021 Ferrari’s operating margin increased to over 25-percent. So it made, on average, a tad more than $106,000 per car. That number is unreachable for any other automaker by a very long shot. Coming in second place in the profit-per-vehicle race was Tesla. It made about $6,700 per car sold. 

Doesn’t Ferrari need to sell lots of cars?

Ferrari F1 flag
Ferrari F1 flag | Getty

So Ferrari doesn’t necessarily need to sell more cars to make a larger profit. It could, but then it would increase the supply of new cars. The company doesn’t want to do that. It doesn’t have to.

Let’s say you are unaware of the company’s unique way of choosing buyers. When you pop into the dealership, it looks for a certain type. It’s rumored you must look over 40 years old. Financial stability comes with age, or at least to Ferrari’s eyes it does.

And if you think you can get on a waiting list, even that is fraught with parameters. You can’t own a Lamborghini. If you do, Ferrari won’t sell you one of its cars. All maintenance work must be performed by an authorized dealership. Servicing it elsewhere puts you on a list that will never allow you to purchase a new Ferrari, ever again. 

If they invite you, you must attend

Ferrari ownership
Felipe Massa and Nael al-Zayani, the owner of Zayani Motors, a Ferrari official car dealer | Getty

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You should attend all of the functions and events you’re invited to. An invite means a no-show could land you on that dreaded list, again. 

You say you can abide by all of this, but you want to order a limited-edition model? Unless you already own four Ferraris and no Lambos, you can’t. And maybe the biggest requirement of all is that you’re under contract as forbidden from selling your car for at least one year. And should you decide to sell it and get another model, Ferrari gets the first right of refusal. It’s in the contract.

The bottom line is that you don’t reward Ferrari with the purchase price, you reward it with loyalty. And if you’ve qualified for everything it demands of you, and want that limited-edition coming out in 2023, it may or may not grant you a place on the waiting list. And you’ll never be told why you either did or didn’t make it. Because, Ferrari.