By Shari Valenta
One would think that selling a $276,000 luxury automobile would be difficult task, especially during times the economy is less than perfect. However, Mike Parmakian says his Ferraris sell themselves. Parmakian is one of the managers at Stewart’s Ferrari of Denver. Parmakian, with a wonderful wit and dry sense of humor, seems to really enjoy being surrounded by these rare imports.
“We’re recession proof, and that really makes us unique,” explained Parmakian. “Post September 11, we were still out of cars. After 9/11, Ferrari made the decision to slow production in the face of what they thought would be diminished demand. It instead went up, and the wait list got longer.
“Pre-Iraq, Ferrari made the decision to slow their ordering from vendors to make fewer cars. Demand again went up. Then we went to war, it went up once again. Go figure. It’s counterintuitive. We’re dealing with a clientele that doesn’t feel the price of gasoline is going to change their lifestyle.”
Why do people love Ferraris?
“Because they go just under 200 miles per hour and they’re really cool,” Parmakian said enthusiastically.
How does one go about purchasing one of these swift sports vehicles? The process isn’t quite as lickety-split as the automobile.
“You walk in and you plunk down a deposit,” Parmakian said. “It’s $10,000 on a Ferrari. When your production slot becomes available, they tell me and I find out what options and color you want. After that, you don’t hear from me for another six months until I call one day and say, ‘Come down; your car is here.’ You ask, ‘How much do I owe you?’ I say, ‘Your car is $276,000; you paid $10,000 for your new Ferrari so it will be $266,000 plus tax.’ How much is tax? If you live in Denver, it’ll run at least $20,000.
Who has the disposable income to afford one of these luxury cars? It’s primarily successful business owners or athletes, said Parmakian.
“Our customers usually own a business that is phenomenally successful,” he said. “The average Bentley owner has a net worth worldwide of $31 million dollars. I had a Denver Nugget come in the other day and he arrived in his $330,000 Rolls. He said he wanted a new Bentley. After we computed his trade-in allowance, he had so much money left over; he bought a Ferrari, too. The guy who was with him, said, ‘I’ll take a Bentley,’ and he bought one as well. It was all over in five minutes because they had a practice they had to go to and that’s typically how it’s done.”
Bentleys are selling like hotcakes, too. Parmakian says that’s because, at 160 miles per hour, they can out run just about everything on the lot. Stewart’s Ferrari of Denver not only sells Bentleys, but they also sell Maserati and Lotus brands. Customers can pick up a new or pre-owned variety.
Parmakian works with a whole cast of qualified staff. Bill Orth, the general sales manager, has helped run motorcycle and automobile dealerships since 1973. Derek Fennig, the Maserati sales manager, has worked for Stewart’s Ferrari of Denver almost 10 years. Mark Cursio, Rolls-Royce and Bentley specialist, has been with the business for over 25 years. The owner himself, Bill Stewart, is a factory-trained Rolls-Royce technician.
“Bill started as a Rolls-Royce and Mercedes-Benz technician,” said Parmakian. “That was when the Mercedes-Benz/Rolls-Royce dealership was called Kumph (Motor Car Company). Then Mark Murray took over the Mercedes-Benz dealership and opened up Murray Motors. Bill took over Rolls-Royce and opened up the Royal Carriage Works in Denver. He stayed with Rolls-Royce throughout the balance of the business.”
Parmakian has 34 years of first-hand experience owning a variety of exotics himself, including vintage and museum quality automobiles such as Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini, Alfa-Romeo, Lotus, Rolls-Royce, Bentley, BMW, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Corvette brands and even the original Cobra model. Parmakian works very hard as the Lotus, Bentley and pre-owned manager, as well as the finance/lease manager.
Stewart’s Ferrari of Denver has a full service parts and service shop that will, of course, come and pick up your brand new Ferrari for its oil change or can even do restoration on your older model. There’s also a gift boutique that stocks jewelry, models, shirts, hats, coats, posters, memorabilia and books of your favorite brands.
If you’d like to see firsthand why these fast Ferraris are so difficult to keep in stock, pay a visit to the showroom at Stewart’s Ferrari of Denver, located between S. Broadway and S. University Blvd. on E. County Line Rd.
Stewart’s Ferrari of Denver is located at 1480 E. County Line Road. The showroom is open from 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Mon. – Fri. and 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Sat. For more information, call 303-730-7340 or visit [http://www.ferrariofdenver.com].