While the general trend in the industry, even among luxury makes, appears to be to increase sales with little regard to exclusivity or whether a vehicle fits a brand, Ferrari is going against the tide and limiting the number of cars it sells each year. After reaching ‘Peak Ferrari’ in 2012 with a record 7,318 sales, the Italian brand decided to limit sales to 7,000 units per year going forward in order to boost exclusivity and in the process help protect margins and residual values for customers.

Ferrari has now revealed that it sold 6,922 cars in 2013, which was down 5.4 percent on 2012’s figure. Despite the decrease in sales, revenues were up 5 percent on the previous year at 2.3 billion euros ($3.16 billion) and net profit was up 5.4 percent at 246 million euros ($338.5 million). The company also ended 2013 with 1.36 billion euros ($1.87 billion) in the bank, its highest net cash position ever.

If you’re wondering how Ferrari manages to grow profits while selling fewer cars, all while continuing to invest in new products and an extensive motorsport program, there are actually several reasons.

Most of the revenue growth has been brought about by the increased rate of personalization done on the cars, such as via the Tailor-Made Program and Special Projects division. Ferrari has revealed that every car it sold in 2013 featured some kind of personalization, which can often be quite costly.

Also growing this year was Ferrari’s restoration division, Ferrari Classiche, as well as its Corse Clienti customer racing program, which was recently merged with the Formula One program through the new Sporting Activities Department.

Finally, Ferrari has also revealed that revenues from its brand-related activities, such as merchandizing and its theme park license, also hit a new record, coming in at 54 million euros ($74.3 million) for 2013, which was up 3.6 percent on the previous year’s result.

“This is a very important result that comes as a direct consequence of the huge effort made by everyone,” Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo said in a statement. “We wanted to maintain a high level of exclusivity, designing amazing products such as the LaFerrari, the 458 Speciale and the just launched California T, the result of significant investment in product and technological innovation.”

The good news is that despite the cap on sales, Ferrari hasn’t forgotten its most loyal markets and is paying close attention to markets with very strong demand to avoid excessively long waiting lists, which can often stretch up to two years. The U.S., Ferrari’s single biggest market, saw sales in 2013 actually increase 9 percent to 2,035 units, which was a new record. China was the second biggest with 700 sales, while the third biggest was the U.K. with 677 sales.

In related news, British research firm Brand Finance named Ferrari the world's most powerful brand for the second year in a row, putting it ahead of much larger firms such as Apple and Google. The brand rating not only takes into account financial metrics, such as average revenue per customer and investment, but also a complex array of other parameters, including brand affection and loyalty, client management and human resources.


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