The Ferrari brand is synonymous with desirability and exclusiveness, a combination that leaves buyers often waiting up to 24 months just to take delivery of one. Remember, people who can afford to spend a couple hundred thousand dollars on a car aren’t used to waiting more than five minutes for a coffee let alone two years for a car, supercar or not. Maranello is well aware of the problem. We’ve already reported that Ferrari is planning to lift production to meet rising demand from emerging markets such as China, Russia and the Middle East, and now the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) is reporting that US customers may have to wait even longer because of rising sales in China.

Until a few years ago, the standard wait for a Ferrari was around 12 months, which was enough time to build anticipation but not long enough to make customers switch brands. This was when Ferrari was only building around 4,000 cars per year and was serving only three major markets, North America, Italy and Germany. At the same time, Ferrari Chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo claimed his company would never build more than 5,000 cars a year.

Fast forward to today, and surging demand from Asia, the Middle East and Russia has seen Ferrari’s output rise to 5,700 cars in 2006 with an estimated 6,000 vehicles for this year. Even with the extra production, waiting times in Hong Kong, the United States, Australia and England have past the 24 month mark. New York Ferrari dealer Michael Mastrangelo who spoke with reporters from the WSJ paints a gloomy picture. The average waiting time for his customers is three years. By the time they’re handed the keys, Ferrari would have released an updated model. Another problem dealers face is having to help repeat customers first. "It's very hard to come into a dealership right now and put in a new order if you are not already a customer," Mastrangelo says. "When I get a young person, what I say is, let's start with a used car.”

Ferrari is also concerned about some customers reselling their cars in mint condition at highly inflated prices. According to the WSJ, of the 20 Ferrari F430s in the UAE, only three were sold officially through local dealerships. To help solve this problem Ferrari now asks customers to sign a statement promising to offer their cars to dealers first when selling but this is only an option.

All this brings us to the issue of Ferrari adding a new entry-level Dino. If Ferrari isn’t even meeting demand for its high-end models why would it introduce a cheaper, higher volume model, which would only dilute the brand? A better option would be to sell less, higher profit cars so that revenues can increase while exclusivity remains.