The Mystery of Supercar Allocations

McLaren Senna 1st Drive
June 21, 2019
Chicago: A Great American City
July 13, 2019

A not infrequent question I get asked is “how do you get on the list for a limited edition supercar”.  As questions go, this is not an easy one to answer.  It varies significantly by company and in some cases, the logic completely escapes me.  Who gets allocations can also change based on what a particular manufacturer is trying to achieve in terms of developing their customer profile with a specific model.

Of the multitude of supercar manufacturers, in terms of allocation logic, the most straight forward seems to be Ferrari ( Dealing With Ferrari).  From what I have seen, Ferrari operates on a strict pay to play model.  The more money you spend directly with Ferrari, the higher on the list you will rise.  Participating in the Corse Clienti in the Ferrari Challenge Racing Series, XX Program, or as a F1 Clienti all will significantly help your overall standing. Having all your cars certified by Ferrari Classiche is also not a bad idea.  It goes without saying that buying every just about new model that rolls out of the gates at Maranello has to be pretty much a given.  It would be fascinating to know how many Californias and FFs were purchased by owners just looking to move up Ferraris priority list.  The “you need to buy this if you want that” approach I found really annoying and alienating.  From what I have been told, owning tens of millions of dollars of Ferrari’s vintage cars really doesn’t count for much as that does little to enrich Ferraris current coffers.

If Ferrari operates on a Machiavellian pay to play philosophy, McLaren seems to be much more based on your overall loyalty and history with the brand.  From what I have seen, there are always a small number of build slots that go to supercar collectors who are non-McLaren owners to bring them into the brand. I’ve never had McLaren either directly or indirectly indicate that I needed to buy a certain new model if I wanted to be on the allocation list for the next limited-edition supercar.  Even with multiple McLarens ( Our McLaren History) in the garage, does this mean I have been able to acquire every new McLaren I’ve wanted?  No, I didn’t make the cut for the Speedtail.  From what I understand via talking to other owners, the 106 Speedtail build slots were offered in order of priority to owners of F1 heritage racecars, F1 road cars, P1 GTRs, and then P1 owners.  My guess is very few of the last group made the cut.  In my case, I was told I was on the waitlist which I took as a very polite way of saying no.  Based on how the decisions were made, I did think the outcome was fair.

Porsche is one manufacturer I really don’t understand when it comes to the allocation game.  Based on a very abrupt and less than fruitful experience on the 911R, pay to play now seems to be the order of the day.  However, when Porsche was having a very hard time filling 918 build slots, I couldn’t get the local Porsche dealers to return a phone call in either the UK, or shortly thereafter, when we had moved to the US ( Our Porsche History).  Unusual for a German company, there doesn’t seem to be a standard process or approach.

In my limited experience, Aston Martin seems to operate under a similar philosophy to McLaren.  Like McLaren, there are a few build slots that are given to supercar collectors who are non-Aston Martin owners to bring them on board with the majority going to loyal customers.  As the recipient of one of the former for an AM-RB Valhalla build slot ( AM-RB Project 003), I’m quite grateful that Aston Martin takes this approach and I sure it will lead to also adding one of their production models to the garage in the near future. Also saying “no” once doesn’t seem to lead to being declared “persona non grata” as I did pass on the One-77 several years ago.

Amongst the smaller manufacturers, I really have no idea how either Pagani or Koenigsegg operate at this point.  Asking prices on their used cars seemed to have eclipsed the latest models in some cases.  It’s hard to tell how realistic these prices are as multiple cars seem to move from dealer to dealer at increasing values without seeming to ever find a private home ( Supercar Market Q2 2019).   In both cases, cars are built to order, but how hard it is to be allowed to place an order I just don’t know.  Ford would also fall into the “I have no idea” category.  While I know a number of the Ford GTs went to loyal long term Ford customers who will really cherish and enjoy the car, GTs also seemed to be used as a reward for owners of the larger dealerships, with a number of build slots then going to YouTube and Instagram celebrities based on some sort of projected PR value that Ford might realize.

As a new small supercar manufacturer, Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus (SCG) is still in the early stages of building up its customer based so getting a build slot is a straight forward affair ( Ambitous Plans of SCG). However, as awareness grows and given the bespoke hand-built nature of the cars, it will be a year or two before you can expect delivery.  One thing SCG has done which I find quite clever and innovative is to designate a certain number of early build slots for each model as “Founders” editions. With a “Founders” build slot you get access to the development details and testing progress on that model.  Personally, think it is quite a cool added bonus for petrolheads.

In summary, they are all different and each manufacturer seems to have its own rules and logic.  How accurate my perceptions are on each manufacturer is something I would appreciate getting feedback on. 

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June 2019

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