I was just randomly cruising Fchat and came across this behemioth post - at first I thougt he sounded like a tool, but it's a... well, long, story.http://www.ferrarichat.com/forum/showthread.php?t=225357
This is a story about how Ferrari and their dealer lost a customer for life because they failed to stand behind their product.
My Ferrari history
I bought my first Ferrari in 2007. It was a new F430 Spider and I paid $60,000 over sticker to get it. Factor in the commission and my dealer probably made $80,000+ on that car. I hated having to pay $300K for a car with a sticker of $240K, but such was the game and I played it.
I drove it for 5,000 miles. All of which I thoroughly enjoyed and sold it six months later as I preferred the Lamborghini Gallardo Spider that I had also bought earlier that year. I sold it through the dealer at a $30,000 loss.
In February of this year, I ordered a new Maserati Gran Turismo S from the same dealer and was going to pay whatever the sticker for that car was. I believe that was $140K or something like that. So probably another $15-20K in profits lined up on that.
In June, I decided that I'd like to get a F430 for street and track. I had been driving a 911 GT3 for the past 6 months and enjoying the track time a bunch. I informed my dealer that I would like to get a F430 that I could use for the track, so if they could help me look for one with ceramic brakes and sport seats.
A few weeks passes by and they were not able to find me anything to those specs, but I found a car to my liking at another local dealer. Since I was trying to build up a relationship with the people who got me my first F430 and had my GT order, I got them to tunnel the deal. That way I could also use a tax credit from the first F430. They were more than happy to keep my business.
I also told them at the time that the car I really wanted was the Scuderia, but I was just not willing to pay the ~$100K over sticker for it. But as soon as they had one at sticker, I'd be interested in trading in the F430 I was getting then.
Covering all bases before the purchase
The car I found was a 2005 with 7680 miles that had both the ceramics and the sport seats. Exactly what I was looking for. The car was also advertised as a local, 1-owner car with complete history and it was kept by a lawyer that only drove it around town. I negotiated to buy the car for $200,000 pending a full PPI at my owner dealer and that it'd pass warranty inspection.
So first I pay some $300 to have the full PPI done. They found nothing wrong with the car. Important for this story, I ask them specifically about the brakes because I know how expensive the ceramics are to fix. They tell me that they're hardly worn and that all is fine. The PPI report also has them as "green" (all is good).
But just to be sure that I don't buy something that's going to fail on me shortly after and stick me with a big bill, I also paid my dealer to do a warranty inspection (another $700 I believe) and I bought the extended 1-year warranty from Ferrari. Again, the car passes (supposedly) with flying colors and I believed I had done everything I possibly could to ensure a trouble free ownership experience of my second Ferrari.
My actual usage of the car
From taking delivery on the car at the beginning of June, I got to drive it about three weeks and 1,156 miles before it all became undone. About 900 of those miles were on the street and the remainder split between three trips to the local track.
First time I went there, I just had a friend out for a few friendly laps. Probably less than 15 minutes total. The second time, I went with a local club and stayed out all day. That's probably 4-5 sessions of 20-some minutes each. The final time, I was out I only got 2 sessions in before all hell breaks loose.
In my second session, the F1 gear system started flashing and I only just made it off the track before it popped into neutral and reused to go back into gear. Visual inspection revealed that the car was leaking transmission fluids and it's definitely done for the day. I called the dealer and arranged to have the car picked up.
I was disappointed that the car failed so quickly, but though hey, **** happens, and luckily I have my warranty and all will be well. Wrong. So very, very wrong.
My dealer nightmare
Now the fun really starts. My dealer claimed that the F1 pump is broken and needs replacement. Bummer. But much, much worse, they also claimed that my front rotors were shot and that all my brake pads were done too (front ones only have 20% left or so). Eh, what? In 1,156 miles -- with the majority of those spent on the road -- my supposedly perfectly good carbon ceramic brakes are gone?
Surely this must be a malfunction. Surely Ferrari don't expect that the F1 pump should go just from usage and that the brakes should wear out in that few miles? While yes, yes, they do. The dealer tells me that Ferrari denied all coverage and that I would have to foot the bill of -- sit down for this -- $26,877.34!!!
The reason for this is that I've dared take my Ferrari on a race track. According to my dealer, the warranty is essentially void as soon as the car enters a race track. I'm told that people who take their car to a race track should expect it to break and foot the entire bill themselves, regardless of warranty. I'm also told that I'm being a dummy for taking my Ferrari to a race track in the first place. I should buy a dedicated race car for that.
I reply with shock that I specifically bought this car to take it to the occasional track day. That I told them all this up front and reminded them how excited they were that "someone was going to use these cars like they were meant to". I also asked how ceramic brakes that are supposed to last for a very, very long time can go bad so incredibly fast. And how a F1 system can just go bad like that?
All questions that they really weren't interested in addressing. My car was in need of about $27K worth of repairs after three weeks and considering that I was getting increasingly frustrated with my treatment, they actually weren't interested in fixing the car at all at their facility. "Where would you like us to deliver this car to?", is where we ended up.
I tried hard to plea to their reason. Reminded them that in just about a year I had bought two Ferraris, ordered a Maserati, and expressed interest in a third Ferrari from them. Lining their pockets with probably $100K+ in profits and a clear line of sight of many, many more dollars if they would just put this right.
And that regardless of all that, it's completely unacceptable that they can't stand behind their product or their inspections when the **** hits the fan. That it can't be reasonable for Ferrari and the dealer to expect that a car that got the A-Okay just a few weeks earlier is falling apart with this little usage.
I also remind them of the consequences: If this is how they want to go out, I'm never buying another Ferrari again and I'm going to cancel my Maserati order and never even contemplate buying from that dealer again. As well as the fact that I'll tell my story to the many exotic owners I know in the local area.
None of that helps. I'm left with "you shouldn't have taken your Ferrari to the race track". No offers of helping out even partially. Not even a "****, that sucks for you, Ferrari are being jack asses for denying the warranty claim, but we'll cover the labour". It all felt like a big "**** you, there are plenty of more customers were you came from".
Getting out of the Ferrari
Since the dealer wasn't interested in fixing the car, I had it shipped to my Lamborghini dealer instead. In just a few hours, I got a call from the lead tech directly (the Ferrari dealer only had me talking to service managers, never anyone who could give me an explanation as to why this could happen). He's gone through the car and has a very interesting conclusion.
The F1 pump was totally fine! The leaking fluids came a pinched fluid line. We just needed to change that, not the entire system. Pretty amazing that I needed to take my Ferrari to a Lamborghini shop to have a proper diagnosis of my trouble. What were the Ferrari guys going to say once they had billed me ~$5,000 for the pump replacement and the car was still leaking fluids? Oh, we just discovered that you ALSO need a new fluid line?!
That was at least something. Much cheaper to fix the pinched line than change the pump, but the results on the brakes were still the same. New front rotors, all new pads needed. Except the Lamborghini guys are able to do all that $1,772 cheaper than the Ferrari guys?! And they don't even buy the parts directly from Ferrari, but had to go through another dealer again!
So not only can't the Ferrari guys diagnose all the problems properly, they're also trying to ream me on the repairs. So classy.
In any case, the Lamborghini guys put the car together perfectly for $5,276 less than the Ferrari dealer quoted me. But by then the car has absolutely zero interest to me and I trade it in on a new Lamborghini Gallardo LP-560 before ever sitting in it again. I even get a very fair trade price for the car (just $15,000 less than I paid) and I get the new car -- the very first in my area! -- at sticker. (Guess who just won a customer for life)
Adding insult to injury
After this horrible experience, I'm obviously done with that dealer. But apparently I'm still on their mailing list, so I keep getting these hilarious communications from them. Just ONE WEEK after my car had been booted from their shop, I get this invitation to a track day event:
"Due to the high volume of requests from our client base, **** ****** ********** will now be providing our customers with the opportunity to experience their cars in the most fitting of
environments: the racetrack!"
I don't know whether to laugh or cry. The invitation contains absolutely no warning that this dealer will tell them to take a hike if anything should happen to their cars while on the track. Who in their right mind is going to take a $200,000+ street car to the race track if that means that any problem that reveals itself there is on their own tab?
I keep consoling myself with the notion that I somehow got lucky with this. What if my engine would have blown? What if the exhaust system had failed? I would had been stuck with a much, much higher bill. And it's not like I haven't seen that happen outside the track! My first F430 spider cracked an exhaust pipe driving 2 miles away from the dealer after a service checkup! That could just as well have happened at the track and I would have been ****ed even worse.
The fun doesn't stop here of course. At Thanksgiving I got a card from them telling me how much they appreciate my business?! Not too long ago they called me with great enthusiasm to rate my experience at their dealership? The poor lady on the phone seemed entirely unable to comprehend the simple message: "I WILL NEVER BUY ANOTHER FERRARI AGAIN. I WILL NEVER BUY ANY CAR FROM YOU GUYS".
Note my experience
My conclusion from all of this was: Ferrari and their dealers do not stand behind their product.
All cars have problems, what matters is how you deal with them. I've had both Porsches and Lamborghinis that I've taken extensively to the track. Some of them have developed issues there (one Lambo blew a radiator, another had the brake wear sensor fail), but I've never had any trouble getting neither of these companies or their dealers to repair the issues when covered by warranty.
If you have a Ferrari, I would strongly advise that you do not take it on a race track unless you're willing to accept that your warranty won't mean squat. This is double so if you have ceramic brakes that are very expensive to fix and apparently can crap out in a few hundred miles at the track (and I always made sure to do warm-up laps and cool-down laps).
Or alternatively you can just lie. Truck your car back home and say it just failed there.
Theories to what went wrong
Since sharing my story in person, I've heard lots of theories to what actually went down. One theory goes that the brakes were actually seriously worn by the time I got the car, but that the Ferrari dealer never discovered it because they just did a visual inspection instead of weighing the calipers etc. So it was a failure of the PPI/warranty inspection and they tried to cover it up by claiming that I had killed the car at the track.
Another idea is just that there was a production fault in the ceramics. Something that just never showed up on the street but was exposed at the track when the car was actually approaching it's limits.
One theory for why they wouldn't help me was that I had somehow pissed them off by not buying one of their used cars (even though they didn't have one fitting my specs). And that even though I had been lining their pockets with gold on other deals, this deal was looked at in isolation and it wasn't profitable to help me out (since there was no profit from this deal in the first place).
In some ways, I don't even care any more. It was a very expensive lesson in misplaced trust and I learned something from that. I'm very happy with the Lamborghini product and at peace with the fact that Ferrari just won't be one of the options for the next cars I'm going to get. But I wanted to share my story none the less, so future owners know how badly things might end up.