Riding high in a Ferrari
WORDS Lauren Kramer X PHOTOGRAPHY Lia Crowe
Nothing says Italian craftsmanship quite like a Ferrari. These spectacular vehicles, known for their combination of speed, sleek design and hefty price tags, never fail to capture attention. Admired and coveted by car lovers the world over, the Ferrari brand is like a great red wine: it just keeps getting better.
Ferrari opened its 35,000-square-foot dealership in Vancouver 11 years ago, one of only four dealerships in Canada. Step inside the four-floor showroom and you can peruse new and pre-owned vehicles. (Although, the pre-owned are in such immaculate condition, you’d have to check the odometer to know they’d spent any time on the road.)
“We have a wide range of drivers, from young entrepreneurs to distinguished businessmen,” noted Roger Helou, general manager at the Vancouver dealership. “Ferrari makes a car to fit everyone’s needs, whether you want one to cruise around town during the weekend, use it as a daily driver, or take it to the track for a few laps.”
Roger was drawn to Ferrari of Vancouver by the brand’s reputation and its state-of-the-art showroom on Burrard Street. Inside that space, soon-to-be Ferrari owners can build their dream two-person or four-person car in the configurator room, where paint and leather samples vie for attention with steering wheel, seating, brake calipers and hubcap options. After that they can shop for Ferrari merchandise, including cuff links, watches, umbrellas, mugs and key chains.
It can take 12 to 18 months for a new order to be filled, and the Vancouver showroom receives up to 75 vehicles per year. Since each Ferrari is custom-made to buyers’ specifications, it’s rare to see identical models.
What distinguishes Ferraris from other vehicles? The race technology that accounts for Ferrari’s speed is one factor. Another is the fact that this brand doesn’t follow competitors’ trends, Roger said. “We are usually tagged as trendsetters, thinking out of the box and lately, focusing on unpredictability.”
Purchasing a Ferrari is about more than coming away with a sleek, new vehicle, noted Soraya Hirani, marketing manager for the dealership.
“We want our clients to know they are part of an exclusive community, and we host upscale events like client appreciation dinners, charity galas, new car launches and test-drive events to immerse them into the brand.”
The Vancouver dealership organizes track days and wine tour rallies in the Okanagan for Ferrari owners, who are also invited to join global Ferrari events in Italy and other far-flung destinations.
“These are opportunities for Ferrari owners to use their vehicles, show them off and meet other owners,” she reflected. “It’s also why we have so many loyal clients and repeat purchasers who enjoy being part of this exclusive community. The Ferrari brand is all about a lifestyle, and that’s what sets us apart.”
The pandemic forced the dealership to re-think its events, and car launches became more private and intimate focusing on a more personalized experience. For Chinese New Year, Ferrari of Vancouver hosted a “shop and test drive” event in conjunction with shoe designer Christian Louboutin.
“Guests could pick up the spring line of shoes and test out a new Ferrari,” Soraya said. “That’s just one example of the unique experiences we offer to engage our community.”
Roger added that the Ferrari dealership focuses on building strong, long-term relationships with its clients with monthly Cars & Coffee events and two-day track events.
“In 2020, Ferrari of Vancouver won the Cavallino Award, the only dealership in Canada to win it,” he said. “We strive for excellence and want to ensure that our clients and fans are part of this.”
For potential Ferrari buyers who might feel daunted by maintenance costs, Roger explained that all Ferraris come with a maintenance program that covers all required maintenance for seven years. A standard three-year warranty can also be extended for up to 15 years to ensure buyers have no unforeseen expenses.
“Many people believe that a new Ferrari is not obtainable without having to jump through hoops, and that’s incorrect,” Roger said. “Production models are open to any client that wishes to be part of this exclusive family.”
Price tags for Ferraris range from $300,000 up to $1.5 million. Before the pandemic, clients designing their new Ferrari could travel to New York or even to Italy, to peruse the colours, textures and materials available, or to add a dedication plate containing their initials or a personalized message.
For Ferrari admirers who don’t have that kind of cash on hand, Soraya said everyone is welcome.
“We’re all about friendly customer service and building our community in Vancouver. Stop by for an espresso, explore our vehicles, come and learn about the brand and view our merchandise.”