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The Universo Ferrari exhibition highlights the way Ferrari combines deep heritage and cutting-edge technology to deliver uniquely special cars.

24 Sep 2019

With more car brands sinking deep resources into electrification, autonomous technology and future-oriented development, it might not be unfair to wonder if cars are going to become increasingly homogenous in the future.

How do brand's still distinguish themselves? How can you still make products that are deeply special, unique and full of character? Are all electric cars just going to be the same?

Universo Ferrari is a month-long exhibition celebrating the brand's diverse history, deep heritage and special cars
One way, of course, is to lean into heritage and history. And perhaps no automotive brand does this as clearly and consistently as Ferrari. With model names harkening back to cars from half a century ago, and every press release containing at least one reference to some historical precedent, Ferrari is a brand that fully understands and deeply embraces history, heritage and identity.

Can you blame it? As a small volume manufacturer of expensive, high performance cars, leaning into this sense of heritage and identity is key to the brand ethos. Don't expect Ferrari to suddenly introduce a 'budget' model, or to significantly ramp up production simply to increase sales volume - that's not the 'Ferrari way', as just about every Ferrari executive will tell you. 

Celebrating culture and heritage

The effortless beauty and racing prowess of Ferraris can be traced back to early models like this 250 GTO
One key to the Ferrari brand is exclusivity and desirability. As Enrico Galliera, Ferrari Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer, highlights that one of the brand's guiding tenets is to always make one less car than the market demands. As a result, each model that leaves the Maranello factory is special, something to be desired and celebrated.

And in the spirit of grand celebrations, this year Ferrari is holding a unique exhibition throughout the month of September - Universo Ferrari. Open to customers, the media, and even fans and enthusiasts (on a couple of weekends), Universo Ferrari is a celebration of heritage, exclusivity and prestige. Whether it's showcasing esteemed classic models like the 250 GTO or extreme track weapons like the FXX-K, Universo Ferrari brings together the very best that Ferrari has to offer.

The FXX-K provides customers with the ultimate track-day experience
It's an exhibition that explores the racing roots of the brand, celebrates its motorsport success, and highlights the brand's transformation over time. And qualities like exclusivity, emotionality, sculptural design and sheer performance form the cultural foundation on which all new Ferraris are developed. 

Technological prowess

That's not to say that the brand isn't still deeply innovative and invested in technology. For the car geeks, Ferrari is a technological force. Its turbocharged V8 engine is a work of art (best engine in the world four years in a row), the aerodynamic capabilities of its sports cars sensational, and the brand has mastered the dark art of making obnoxiously powerful yet delightfully driveable cars.

The SF90, Ferrari's first plug-in hybrid model, utilises electrification to deliver stupendous performance
And, with the new SF90, Ferrari has brought hybrid technology to a series production model, too (the LaFerrari was a limited production model). But in typical Ferrari fashion, the use of electrification in the SF90 is to further boost and intensify power. With a combined output of 987bhp (a neat 1,000 cv), the SF90 is the most powerful road car Ferrari has ever produced. 

It is this combination of backward-looking heritage and forward-looking technology that comes to define the brand. On one hand, Ferrari has to satisfy its 'traditional' customers who demand, well, a loud, fast and red car with a Ferrari badge (and all the pomp and circumstance that comes with that). On the other hand, the brand has to consistently position itself as the market leader when it comes to high-performance sports cars (racing is fundamental to the brand's DNA). New models, from the Portofino to the SF90, illustrate the brand's ability to innovate, revitalise and elevate its products while still tapping into its deep heritage.

A special soul

The new 812 GTS harkens back to a highly important Ferrari formula - a naturally aspirated V12-powered spider
But, ultimately, the brand appeal is still fundamentally built on its cultural cache. The perceived unattainability of a Ferrari is precisely part of its aspirational appeal - commoners look on in awe and jealousy, while the wealthy appreciate the special privilege owning a Ferrari delivers. Owning and driving a Ferrari is an immediately rarefied experience.

Ferrari makes great cars, no doubt about it. And yes, some buyers may buy a Ferrari for its track-going capability. But for most owners, a Ferrari is more than just a product. It's a symbol, one that stands for success, high-luxury, distinguished individuality.

This is ultimately a brand defined by its customers. How else do you justify the brand skipping the Frankfurt Motor Show in favour of a customer-centric month-long brand exhibition and celebration that also saw two new models concurrently launched (a first for the brand)? It's a brand that can and must put its customers first. More than just paying good money for these cars, each and every Ferrari customer is also a brand ambassador.

Combining heritage and technology to deliver deeply special cars - that is the 'Ferrari way'
Ironically, with the shifting automotive landscape and the challenges of increasing digitisation, a brand like Ferrari is perhaps best-positioned to still have a foothold into the future. Yes, change is inevitable, but the company can (and always will) lean on its deep heritage and passionate customers - Ferraris will always have a place on our roads. Limited in numbers, unique in personality and undeniably special, there is arguably still no experience quite like driving a Ferrari.

So yes, we perhaps shouldn't be too worried about a future where cars are too much the same. After all, the internal combustion engine has powered most of the cars from the past 100 years, and they haven't been that homogenous, no?

No matter how the industry changes, we can be rest assured that Ferrari will always figure out a way to continue to meld heritage and technology to produce special cars that are high-performance, high-quality, high-luxury and highly sought after. That is the 'Ferrari way'.
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