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Di Montezemolo receives Golden Steering Wheel - Ferrari Egypt has no clue

While the reputation of the Ferrari Egypt dealership is creating a lot of displeasure among Ferrari owners and fans in Egypt, it is more than obvious that the reputation of Ferrari and its president Luca di Montezemolo in the other parts of the world is as brilliant as it could get.

This week Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo received the "Golden Steering Wheel�, one of the most prestigious acknowledgements in the world of automobile. The prize, which was founded in1976, has been awarded to men like Henry Ford II, Ferry Porsche and Lee Iacocca as well as two men especially dear to the Ferrari boss: Giovanni Agnelli in 1985 and Michael Schumacher in 1993.

The jury chose Montezemolo “for his extraordinary work finding expression in numerous sectors of the industry, as can be seen in the achieved results of Ferrari and Fiat under his chairmanship with numerous victories in motor-sport with the team from Maranello, and the commercial and technical success conquered by the serial production cars on all continents.�

“This award goes to all the people working for Fiat all over the world and also to Ferrari,� Montezemolo said. “This is especially an acknowledgement of the manufacturer from Maranello as �best place to work in Europe’. Furthermore it's always nice to receive an award abroad, especially where it was awarded to people, who wrote the history of cars in the world.�
r /> We at Auto Arabia congratulate Mr. di Montezemolo personally for this award and also congratulate Ferrari for this prestigious award. Ferrari surely deserves this award as they produce some of the best sports-car in the world, with lots of fans worldwide and especially in the Middle East region.

And while the Ferrari fans in Europe were celebrating di Montezemolo's award, the Ferrari fans in the Middle East were celebrating the Ferrari parade on the occasion of the 2009 Abu Dhabi F1 GP. The Ferrari Egypt fans did not celebrate much, as the Ferrari Egypt dealer MTI was busy with his 'Land Rover Desert Crossing' project with an Egyptian adventurer.

I was very happy to see the hundreds of Ferrari fans attending the 2009 Abu Dhabi GP, and was even more happy to see how they enjoyed the Ferrari parade which was organized by the Ferrari dealer in the UAE for this occasion, with dozens of Ferrari owners participating in this parade.

Unfortunately not all the Ferrari and Maserati fans in the Middle East region are that lucky. The first, and last, 'Ferrari-parade' which was organized back in 2007 by the Ferrari dealer in Egypt called MTI and which only included like 4 or 5 cars, was far away from any professional parade.

Not only were the few participants very unhappy with the organization of MTI, but also the local media was very discontent as they were not invited to any of the stops of the parade, which included the Mena House Oberoi Hotel at the Pyramids of Giza, the Italian embassy in Cairo as well as a reception in one of Cairo's hotel.

Consequently there was hardly any media coverage of the parade itself neither before nor after event, just as there was no press release issued by Ferrari Egypt about di Montezemolo winning the Golden Wheel award.

This parade took place as part of the 60th Anniversary celebration of Ferrari. 1947 was the year that il commendatore, Enzo Ferrari, started selling the first cars that bore his name. Many world championships, street car accolades, and happy customers later, the company is still going strong world-wide and especially in the Middle East, but unfortunately not in Egypt, which is also a huge consumer market with over 80 million inhabitants, of which alone 20 million live in the capital Cairo.

To commemorate this special occasion a road rally was held, beginning in Abu Dhabi on January 28th and covering 6 different continents along the way. The participants then reached the finish line in Maranello at the end of June. Abu Dhabi was significant as a starting point because first it is a pretty big market for the different Ferrari models, secondly it is the site of the Ferrari World Theme park, which is currently being build on Yas Island next to the magnificent Yas Marina Circuit and which will be opened for public late 2010.

Ferrari Egypt / MTI not only failed in organizing and promoting the Egyptian leg of the Ferrari 60th Anniversary World Tour which included around 50 countries, but it also constantly fails in promoting the new Ferrari and Maserati models among the Egyptian public and Egyptian media. Instead of inviting local motoring journalists to the international or regional launch events, they keep on fabricating excuses, such as 'it is Ramadan and no journalist wants to travel to the Ferrari / Maserati launch' or they simply send the invitation too late to the journalist so that he has no time for preparing his visa. By fabricating such excuses they simply want to save the travel expenses of the media representatives, not caring that there will be no media coverage in the Egyptian media at all.

And in the few cases where they send journalist, they either send their 'friends' or send some advertising representatives, or even worse, they send journalists who have no clue about cars and in some cases even do not speak English. When I attended the Ferrari 430 Scuderia launch in Maranello in 2007, I asked myself how on earth would those 'general-interest' journalists or advertising representatives understand any of the very technical and sophisticated presentation by Marc Gene and his team. Even I found it sometimes quite hard to follow the presentation, although I speak fluently English and even have motor-sport and racing experience.

Hardly anybody in Egypt ever heard or read anything about the 458 Italia, the 599 GTB, the 612 Scaglietti or even the Ferrari California.
It is also the same case with the Maserati models, where most of the Egyptian public never heard or read anything about the Maserati GranCabrio, the GranTurismo or the Quattroporte. Just one daily newspaper published a road-test about the GranTurismo a few months ago. But that's it.

It seems that MTI is by far over-strained and overburdened with those five dealerships (Ferrari, Maserati, Jaguar, Land Rover, Bentley). This is also reflected by the many complaints of Ferrari-, Land Rover-, and Jaguar-owners. Among those owners are some of the financially and politically most influential persons in Egypt. Angering such high-profile customers is surely not very smart from MTI. Therefore I am sure we will not see any models of those four brands purchased by any official or non-official governmental authority.

Canceling press conference at last-minute, just like it happened this week with the Land Rover press conference is surely not improving the confidence of the media in MTI and its team.

So, will this situation of Ferrari & Maserati (as well as the other two British brands) in Egypt change sometime soon? Well, I do not think as long as the owner of MTI employs his friends and relatives in the leading positions at his dealerships (Ferrari, Maserati, Land Rover, Jaguar, Bentley).

In addition to that I would probably be in the interest of those five brands to withdraw the dealer-ship license from MTI, open a new regional office in Cairo and then make distributor-agreements with at least 4-5 distributors, in order to cover the greater City of Cairo, Alexandria and other parts of the country like Sharm El Sheikh, Upper Egypt and the Nile Delta.
Cairo itself, which has over 20 million inhabitants streches about 40-50 km from east to west, needs at least 4 dealers to cover the whole city.

MTI with its approx. 100 square-meter 'Jaguar & Land Rover' branded show-room is surely not capable and suitable for representing the iconic Ferrari, Maserati and Bentley brands alongside the traditional British brands in this single tiny show-room.


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Readers Comments:

Tam from Cairo - Egypt wrote:
This is completely wrong and if there is any fbrication so it's this whole editorial.
Mr. Luca never said that and MTI has alot of credit with Ferrari as they manage to achieve good records despite the hightaxes imposed on this type of car.

Editors response:
Dear Tam,

Thank you for your competent and informative comment. I am glad to hear that you have a direct link with Mr. Luca di Montezemolo and that you are following all his statements.

I am also very glad for the 'insider-information' you provided us with, which state that MTI has lots of credit with Ferrari and that they manage to achieve good results. If you have any proof for that 'good credit' and for the 'good results' then we kindly ask you to provide us with them and we would be more than happy to publish them here at the same spot in order to prove that we were wrong.

Rest assured that the decision-makers at Ferrari headquarter in Italy know and read what we publish, and that they would have surely commented on our article if there would have been anything not correct with what we wrote.

I also kindly ask you to read our articles more carefully next time before commenting on them.

Kind regards,

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