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Ferraris take over Singapore roads for a day
FERRARI may have a prancing horse on its emblem, but last weekend you would have caught a fleet of the supercars at a gentle gallop in a multimillion-dollar procession around Singapore.
As part of the famous racing brand's 70th anniversary celebrations, 157 Ferraris formed a parade and drove a 70km lap, starting off at the F1 Pit Building.
The procession made up the largest Ferrari gathering in Singapore's history, and gave car-spotters an ultra-rare chance to see the LaFerrari Aperta, the brand's fastest open-top car, in action.
Only 209 copies of the 963 horsepower supercar will ever be made, and you can buy one only at Ferrari's invitation. But that didn't stop them from selling out even before the LaFerrari Aperta was revealed to the general public.
That's just an example of how Ferrari has a following like no other supercar brand.
In Singapore, it is by far the favourite high-performance machine of the wealthy. As of the end of 2016, there were 619 Ferraris on the road here - more than the population of rival cars from Lamborghini (267 units), Aston Martin (184) and McLaren (75) combined.
Nor are any of those rivals likely to close the gap any time soon.
In the first seven months of this year, 23 new Ferraris were delivered, compared to 18 Aston Martins, 12 Lamborghinis and a pair of McLarens.
Ferrari's success is in large part down to how the brand got off to a flying start, says Dieter Knechtel, chief executive officer of Ferrari's Far and Middle East division.
As a carmaker, it was born when a racing-obsessed driver and team manager named Enzo Ferrari decided to build and sell road cars to fund his racing team.
"Ferrari 70 years ago very much benefitted from the success that Enzo had as a person," said Mr Knechtel. "He was a very visionary person. Even the first model turned heads. So in terms of design, in terms of sound, it was already outstanding."
That approach to business has continued to serve Ferrari well.
"Throughout the 70 years, the cars always looked outstanding, turning heads until today," said Mr Knechtel. "They're innovative, always trying to be on the ultimate edge of technology and design."
But that alone isn't enough to get people to part with a seven-figure sum for one, he added. To achieve that, Ferrari behaves like what he calls a "boutique" company: one that is small enough to treat customers like family.
ItalAuto, the local dealer, organises events for customers and tries to create what Mr Knechtel calls "special moments" for them - the 70th anniversary parade was a prime example.
"We believe that stepping into the world of Ferrari is the beginning of a lifelong relationship," he said, implying that many customers don't stop at just one Ferrari.
"We are consistent in what we do, so our clients know what they can expect from us and they are never deceived. Every new model that we release is a big step forward."
If that consistency continues to pay off, it means two things: that Ferrari will have another big bash 70 years from now and its convoy will stretch longer than 157 cars.