BID­ING TIME

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - Cover Story -

“If a cus­tomer walks into a deal­er­ship and they don’t have the ex­act car they want, deal­ers are able to do swaps, right through­out Aus­tralia, to try and get cus­tomers into cars as soon as pos­si­ble.

“We try to help source cars for cus­tomers. We en­cour­age swaps at the na­tional and re­gional lev­els. We have a cou­ple of peo­ple work­ing on this al­most full-time.”

When it comes to wait­ing lists, no one tops Fer­rari. A long-term com­pany pol­icy of build­ing one car fewer than the com­pany can sell, and the qual­ity of its cur­rent line-up, means su­per-long lead times for own­ers.

“For the 488 Coupe and Spi­der, on av­er­age, it’s about one-and-a-half years, but it can stretch out to two years,” says Fer­rari Aus­tralia boss Her­bert Ap­pleroth.

“The F12 is well into next year, so that’s well over six months. The Cal­i­for­nia con­vert­ible is over six months too, so that’s a prob­lem for us. It’s the car that peo­ple come to from other brands.

“Th­ese are peo­ple who are not used to wait­ing, so it is a bit of a prob­lem. We’re do­ing the best we can to get more cars here in Aus­tralia.”

But Fer­rari buy­ers are well treated while they’re wait­ing, with among other things an ex­act scale replica of their com­ing car — down to body colour, in­te­rior trim and the chas­sis num­ber — as a pre­de­liv­ery gift.

They also get an in­di­vid­ual land­ing page on the com­pany’s web­site, so they can track progress.

Cashed-up Fer­rari buy­ers are of­ten able to make things even more spe­cial.

“We’re do­ing the best we can to get more cars here,” Ap­pleroth says. “We en­cour­age our cus­tomers to have a Fer­rari ex­pe­ri­ence.

“Over 250 buy­ers from Aus­tralia go to Maranello every year — that’s a huge num­ber. Ev­ery­one can see their car be­ing built.

“Even if they can­not at­tend they can see it over the web on their land­ing page.

“It’s the same as a baby. Ninemonth ges­ta­tion, then be­ing born, it’s a sim­i­lar process.” JOHN, from Syd­ney, is red-hot keen on a BMW M2. But he has run into all sorts of trou­ble on de­liv­ery dates, even af­ter pay­ing a cash de­posit.

“The dealer can’t con­firm dates. Or even that I’m ac­tu­ally go­ing to get a car,” he says.

Hav­ing ap­proached an­other dealer and talked to BMW Aus­tralia, he dis­cov­ered there are so many M2 or­ders that the lo­cal HQ is al­lo­cat­ing to deal­ers only when it gets con­fir­ma­tion from Ger­many on the ex­act numbers be­ing built for Aus­tralia and their ship­ping date.

So John must wait. With his fin­gers crossed.

To­mas, from Mel­bourne, thinks the Mercedes-Benz GLC will be ideal for his fam­ily.

But the vari­ant and colour and trim com­bi­na­tion he wants is one of the most pop­u­lar.

“I’ve been told that it will prob­a­bly be March next year, or even later,” he says.

Yet by spend­ing a lit­tle more, he can leap into the new GLC Coupe in­stead of the wagon, as there are cars in floor stocks at some deal­ers. “Now I’m not sure. I might even de­cide to get a C-Class Coupe in­stead,” he says.

Queens­lan­der Derek is a long-time ute buyer who likes the look of the Ford Ranger Wild­trak.

“I’m a painter so I need a ute for work, but I also like to drive. I’ve had a cou­ple of Fal­con XR utes,” he says. “At the mo­ment I’m driv­ing a Ranger, but I’m think­ing about mov­ing up to the Wild­trak.”

But the wait­ing list is putting him off and there is a big out­lay with no de­liv­ery guar­an­tee.

“Deal­ers around my way are not par­tic­u­larly help­ful. It seems like they can sell every Wild­trak they get with­out do­ing any work,” he says.

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