Dave Leggett | 7 November 2008
I know it's a little at the margins, but the interview I did with Spyker's CEO Victor Muller (it first appeared in the Lotus e-magazine proActive) did unearth a few things.
For one thing, I was reminded of that old joke: Q: How do you make a small fortune in Formula 1? A: Start off with a large one. Spyker's F1 involvement was a financial nightmare and Muller simply admits that he made a mess of it (well he says 'we' but he is the boss).
The volumes may be small, but it is interesting to reflect on how the business model works (or not) in the world of exotic sports car manufacture. Where does Spyker sit in the market? This quote is a beauty. I love the way Victor Muller kind of looks down on Ferrari. I know, they are rather everyman aren't they?
"We are not competing with Ferrari or Aston Martin. When you have made your first million pounds then you go and buy a Ferrari, not a Spyker - not yet. That will take quite some time. Typically a Spyker buyer already owns or has owned well-known brand supercars and wants something that is different from that experience. We are on average the seventh car in their collection."
Picking up on the theme of motorsport, we had an interesting feature today that shed a little light on how some F1 technology can make it to the volume end of the automotive business (proper volume that is, not Ferraris!). Technology transfer from motorsport to the general auto industry gets puffed up from time to time (typically by motorsport people who see an increasing need to justify their existence - and perhaps rightly so given Max Mosley's recent comments about the growing budgetary pressures on F1) but we did find a company that could give us a sort of case study.
Incidentally, jumping back to Spyker, I have found a feature in the archive about product placement (a C8 Laviolette starred in the rather forgettable movie Basic Instinct 2). Yes, there's a great big gi-normous archive of quality material on just-auto, don't you know. And how prophetic was this from the article dated April 2006: 'Spyker cannot afford to run its own Formula 1 team or indulge in the high-end marketing projects that other, more established, marques get involved in.' Perhaps Mr Muller should have read it...
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