Ferrari will change hands in the Philippine market

The situation of the Ferrari dealer in the Philippines is best described as...rocky.

For decades, the brand has been in the custody of Formula Sports, Inc. (FSI), and later Autostrada Motore; both companies led by Wellington Soong. In 2019, Dennis Uy and Udenna took the controlling stake in the business but then handed it over to a group led by Front Row's Mody Llamas Jr. and Sam Verzosa just a year later in 2021.

Maranello, however, seems to have had enough.

For the last few months, we've been hearing talk about a very big changeover for the local Ferrari dealership. Ferrari has been looking for new representation in the country even though the website says Motostrada is still the official dealer in the country.

The biggest sign, however, was the absence of the Philippines from the Ferrari international dealer meeting in 2021. We have been informed that during said meeting, it was mentioned that there will be a new dealer for the Philippine market.

And by all indications, they have already found one, and it will likely be the company led by one of the country's biggest tycoons: Ramon S. Ang.

San Miguel Corporation (SMC) hasn't made any official announcements even though we had asked earlier in the year if the rumors were true. What really clued us in -beyond mere rumors- were insider tips of a visit conducted by representatives of SMC with the existing Ferrari dealership in Bonifacio Global City. Their purpose was to inquire and ask about the types of inventory and equipment at their service center. A business doesn't do that unless they are preparing to set up their own, or perhaps even take over the existing one.

Currently, the huge Philippine conglomerate is already in the premium motoring business with BMW for cars and motorcycles. The BMW brand has been performing very well for SMC, and the company has been able to leverage certain advantages (e.g. assembly in Malaysia) and clever product planning to make pricing very attractive in the classes of cars they compete in. Actually, the big gainer for BMW Philippines has been the Motorrad business, especially during the pandemic.

As for Motostrada, what we understand is that they will be retaining the Maserati brand. Unlike before, Ferrari and Maserati are no longer under one organization, freeing up the so-called “package deal” of having to handle two brands. Maserati's future looks quite interesting as the brand is starting to introduce hybrid technology into its lineup. Soon, they will also be launching their new MC20 sports car in the Philippine market.

If it does push through, the addition of Ferrari to the SMC portfolio means they would be in the supercar business in a country where the gray import business for such vehicles is quite strong. As to when the changeover will happen, only the executives know, but we wouldn't be surprised if they make an official announcement in the next few months.