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FoW Sold?

Discussion in 'Mid-Atlantic Region - USA (PA, DE, MD, DC, VA)' started by wfo900, Dec 23, 2008.

  1. wetpet

    wetpet F1 World Champ
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    May 3, 2006
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    gotta disagree dave. I don't know what the pay plans are over there, but i imagine it's heavily weighted to commission. i don't imagine a couple peoples salary for a couple of weeks would sink them. The week before christmas is pretty harsh. could have at least waited till jan 1st. Seems sort of heavy handed. Also seems a little short sighted. iirc new and used cars are usually purchased by previous customers. the previous customers ralf and augie have in their contact list and have a personal relationship with. but what do i know?

     
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  3. dm_n_stuff

    dm_n_stuff Global Moderator
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    Dec 10, 2003
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    I'm not agreeing with the timing, just trying to understand a little what they might be trying to do.

    I'm not sympathetic to the new owners, just trying not to crucify them when we don't really know the facts behind the changes. We're all just taking educated guesses, right?

    DM
     
  4. DetailGuy

    DetailGuy Formula Junior

    Oct 15, 2006
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    Ashburn, VA
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    Chris
    Like some have said, IMO I would remain neutral about the new FoW ownership. The entire car industry is in complete choas at this point. Dealers are shutting their doors all over the country and major rifts are going through. I don't know too much about FoW's financial condition, but I would imagine their sales have to be down as well. If they are like every other dealership, the new owners are reducing the workforce to meet the current demand. If sales are down 25% to 50% then they are probably reducing workforce to match it. Maybe we don't fully understand the circumstances behind some of the new owners' decisions, and Im not saying by any means they are the right ones, but the current auto industry's conditions may have forced this action. The depreciation rate on cars the last few months have been at industry high for the last 10 years. Major auto auctions that I attend have had the lowest sales rate in 10+ years. I think the new owners are going by the saying "drastic times calls for drastic measure" especially with an investment to buy such a dealership at this time.

    As I said, Im not supporting the new owners' decisions, yet just offering maybe some different insight of the changes. Some things we are seeing may not make any sense to us, but may be the logical choice for them. I really do wish the best for former employees at FoW, and hope they can bounce back. To have this happen around the holiday season is such an unfortunate event.

    Chris
     
  5. open roads

    open roads F1 Rookie
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    Jan 28, 2007
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    This product in this market has to be worth something. If not today then some day. I wonder if the new owner is mothballing it. If I were the new owner and have allready made such big changes, I would be slow to add overhead right now.

    I will really miss those fine people. I'll hope to see them again.
     
  6. barcheta

    barcheta F1 Rookie

    Nov 15, 2003
    3,705
    It's not entirely out of the question to hire back personnel after they get a lay of the land either. Yeah it is pretty cruddy to fire someone just before Christmas but honestly is there really ever a good time to let someone go?
     
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  8. WCH

    WCH F1 Veteran
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    Mar 16, 2003
    5,179
    On the positive side, I've heard that the new owner, who also owns west coast dealerships, will be spending a lot of time at FoW in the beginning of 2009. I think FoW and its people need some TLC, and I hope that's what they get.
     
  9. 285ferrari

    285ferrari F1 World Champ
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    Maybe not a good time, but there is certainly a better time....
     
  10. Pantera1523

    Pantera1523 Formula Junior

    Mar 17, 2004
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    Scott Carpenter
    This was before my time as a Ferrari owner.. but was there this much Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt when the Ferrari franchise was purchased from American Service Center?

    I've never purchased a vehicle from FoW but I have had my 308 serviced there several times... The vast majority of them I was happy with the service. I too am sad to see the changes and to see some of the people leave that have left.

    Not trying to stir up anything I was just curious if there was the same reaction when FoW was formed, since I don't know the history.

    Scott
     
  11. Bryanp

    Bryanp F1 Rookie
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    #34 Bryanp, Dec 25, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2008
    ASC is a Mercedes dealer that somehow stumbled into the FNA franchise. Selling/servicing Ferraris competently never appeared to be a primary goal - it was a weird sideshow for an otherwise well-known regional MB dealer. I don't think any tears were shed when Allie and the guys got the franchise away from ASC.
     
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  13. Neonzapper

    Neonzapper F1 Rookie

    Oct 19, 2008
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    In this economy, lots of businesses are gone, changing hands, or being re-invented. Here's the best place for service, and they have a small inventory of cars for sale from time to time, as well as great contacts for the new Ferraris -

    http://competizionecars.com/

    (and they are an F-Chat Sponsor)
     
  14. ALPO

    ALPO Formula 3

    May 13, 2005
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    + 1 for me ... charged for a new fuel line in that was not replaced or repaired after both MOB and FoW had car...then took the car to an independent shop (Competizione) and all is okay now. IMHO, service quality changed drastically after their top mechanics left FoW (the beginning of the end).
     
  15. wetpet

    wetpet F1 World Champ
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    May 3, 2006
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    interesting how you can say that now without getting crucified by some. Guess i can just say I told you so. two years ago.
     
  16. WCH

    WCH F1 Veteran
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Mar 16, 2003
    5,179
    #38 WCH, Dec 26, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2008
    C'mon wet - did you really feel crucified? By me? We're brothers, owners of the most exotic car ever made, the mighty F500.

    Why dance on the grave of a business that's changing owners and GMs and almost everything?

    Every thread about FoW doesn't have to end up advertising someone else's shop, right?

    You know I use both FoW and Competizione.

    In the past year FoW has taken good care of my QP and my 612, high mileage daily drivers I need to have working. They work!

    Competizione has built my Alfa race car and made my 330GTC and Daytona sing, among other feats of magic.

    Guess what: thanks in no small part to the enthusiasm Allie Ash brought to DC's exotic car world, there's enough business locally to support both a strong dealer and a strong independent. The smart move, IMO, for FoWs new owner, would be to have lunch with Richard and Fernando and find out how they can work together, because there's business they could do.

    Just a thought, not a sermon. [apologies to Lon Solomon for stealing his tag line]


    Edit - I've been critical of the new owner because I'm getting tired of finding out, every time I have contact with FoW, that someone I liked working with is gone. So now I learn Scott the delivery driver is gone. Bummer, he was a great guy. A couple more weeks of this and the new owner will have the place to himself - maybe he can farm out the service work to Competizione and focus on the phones, parts, sales and the goodies store. Hope he's a multitasker.

    Seriously, stop ****ing firing people already.
     
  17. WCH

    WCH F1 Veteran
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    Mar 16, 2003
    5,179
    ASC was the first place I saw an F40, behind velvet ropes with its $400k window sticker in place. I'm pretty sure Arnie Poundstone ended up delivering that car.

    But Ferrari at ASC reminded me of Lambo at Criswell.
     
  18. 355dreamer

    355dreamer F1 World Champ
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    Apr 3, 2006
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    So if everyone is already gone, who is manning the sales department?

    If someone showed up wanting to buy a car today, who would be there to help?

    Just curious.

    It's a shame to hear so many of the kind folks have suffered this fate during the holidays. I wish them all well.

    LC
     
  19. WCH

    WCH F1 Veteran
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    #41 WCH, Dec 26, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2008
    "If someone showed up wanting to buy a car today, who would be there to help?"



    Which car would you like? I can arrange something .... ;)


    I don't know the answer to your question, but I believe Amir and Franklin are continuing after 1/1. And, if you've worked with Ralph or Augie, obviously you ought to call them before drawing any conclusions. I can provide contact info for Ralph.
     
  20. ROULEUR

    ROULEUR Formula Junior

    Dec 15, 2008
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    Atlanta, Ga
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    Chris C
    Ralph is a great guy and a good friend of mine. I called on that dealership for over 3 years and he was always there and always a pleasure. It is sad to see him go. Mary Curtis is still there, and she is the pillar of the place in my opinion. The guys that bought the place are good folks and will take good care of their clients. Not sure why they did what they did.

    I hope that Ralph and Augie land somewhere, they are good people. I am sure that the new owner will turn the place around, he has a great track record from my understanding, and is also from your neck of the woods if I remember correctly.

    I hope that everyone had a great Christmas, happy motoring!!!
     
  21. labcars

    labcars Formula 3
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    Jan 22, 2003
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    Just caught this thread and thought it might be useful to explain how the car biz works (apologies to anyone who is already in the know). Among a variety of other activities I own a couple of auto dealerships. When the buy/sell agreement is entered into, a date certain is usually agreed to for the changeover/handover. What usually happens then is that some of the best employees get poached by other dealers (yes, even in these difficult times) and others just leavebecause the change provides the impetus to do something different. Allmost all of these deals are done as asset sales, rather than stock sales. Effectively the new owner has bought the dealership's assets, but not the stock or ownership interests of the former owner. As such the former company effectively goes out of business and "terminates" all of its former employees. The new owner then "interviews" the former employees and rehires those they want to keep. Oftentimes, that's everyone including, most often, the sales/service/parts managers and most, if not all, of the service technicians. Now I know nothing about FOW (other than what I've read on the site), but it sounds as if the changeover/handover is slated for the first of the new year (not unusual for tax reasons) and that no decision has yet been made on who stays or goes yet. My suspicion is that when the change is effective you will see many of the same faces that you now deal with, with the exception of those that left of their own accord prior to the changeover. Hope this helps quelch some of the unease over the sale. Happy holidays to all!
     
  22. WCH

    WCH F1 Veteran
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    Mar 16, 2003
    5,179
    "but it sounds as if the changeover/handover is slated for the first of the new year (not unusual for tax reasons) and that no decision has yet been made on who stays or goes yet."


    Former lawyer, did some M&A work. I understand what you're saying and appreciate your comments, but ... to my knowledge virtually all the folks who've been let go have been told bye bye.

    It would be great to see some rehired, of course.
     
  23. E60 M5

    E60 M5 Moderator
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    Jan 2, 2006
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    I stopped by FOW to say a "see you around" and not "goodbye" to Ralph today, seemed like a ghost town. Only because, I assume, everyone was off for the holidays. It was nice to see Mary Curtis and Peter as well, 2 great people and a last bastion of hope for FOW, seriously!

    It was eerie and I dare say, maybe a foretaste of things to come?? I guess some people will now finally understand that this is and was a tight knit community of PEOPLE and not just cars!


    Thank God for Richard and Fernando!


    Robert
     
  24. 4REphotographer

    4REphotographer F1 Veteran

    Oct 22, 2006
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    Robert,
    Must have just missed you today, I was there around noon. The service area seemed to be pretty full, but it was kind of sad to see the same cars there that have been there for 6 months.
     
  25. WCH

    WCH F1 Veteran
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    Mar 16, 2003
    5,179
    "It was nice to see Mary Curtis and Peter as well, 2 great people"

    Definitely!

    As for having the same cars for 6 months, to be fair, I'm guessing that some of the higher profile cars you can't help but remember may be kept there as an accommodation to the owner(s).
     
  26. E60 M5

    E60 M5 Moderator
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    Got there around 2:45 and left around 4:20. There were no mechanics in the shop when I got there.


    Robert
     
  27. FLATOUTRACING

    FLATOUTRACING F1 Rookie

    Aug 20, 2001
    2,684
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    Jon K.
    I just re-joined Ferrarichat after a two or three year abscence and it pains me to see this thread. I bought my first Ferrari (88 TR) from Ralph when FOW was still at their old business court in Sterling. At the time I was used to big car dealerships having bought all manner of Porsche's and other sports cars from places like HBL Porsche and Manhattan Cars in Rockville. Big places where you were just a number and the people selling you the cars had no passion or knowledge of what they were selling.

    From the moment I stepped into FOW I was made to feel at home and the people there were all true dyed in the wool Ferrari fans. Ralph spent two months finding me the TR I wanted and when I went to sign the sales contract he took $3000 off the agreed upon price without me even asking. I was a customer for life.

    I can remember hanging out on Saturday afternoons with Ralph,the late Jim Coffey, Allie, Redding and the rest of the gang. FOW was like being in Marenello with real Ferrari people.

    Then when I wanted to get a 348, Ralph talked me into driving a 355 which didn't do much for me with it's styling at the time but once I drove it I forgot about getting a 348. I could barely afford to stretch from a TR to a 355 but Ralph again worked his magic and chopped another 4K off the price of the 355 and Mary got me financing to be able to purchase the car. They went beyond what they needed to and I will never forget FOW.

    When I decided to have FOW convert my car and build it into a Challenge car they allowed me to come into the shop whenever I wanted to and hang out. In fact some evenings I hung out with the two mechanics who built the car and we would go out for dinner and beer after being in the shop until 10 pm or 11 pm some nights.

    I think "WCH" can attest that the atmosphere at FOW in the late 90's and early 2000/2001/2002 was one where each customer was viewed as a "friend". I can remember all the names of all the people who worked there and they all knew us. My biggest thrill was having all the FOW staff line up to get rides in my F355 Challenge at FOW and FCA track days. I think more than anything else I got the respect of most of the FOW staff and technicians because I drove that damn car on the ragged edge and to them that was what the car was meant for.

    The new dealership was nice but the people they brought in knew nothing about Ferrari's history and heritage and some of the "folksy" feeling was gone, though I continued to visit FOW even after I sold the 355.

    In fact I saw Ralph a month ago and also Mary and they were hinting that Allie was being forced out. I had no idea the entire staff would be given the boot.

    Ralph, Sean and Glen if you guys are reading this I am truly sorry this happened and sad to see you all treated like this.

    Kind Regards,

    Jon Kofod

    1988 TR
    1995 F355C
     
  28. WCH

    WCH F1 Veteran
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    Mar 16, 2003
    5,179
    #50 WCH, Dec 27, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2008
    Hey, Jon, GREAT post. I hope all's well.

    Just to be clear, some of the longtimers are still at FoW, including Mary, Glenn, Arnie and Peter.

    I too had great times at some of the old track events. Your comment about giving rides made me laugh; I think Allie's championship winning 360GT has more laps giving rides than it does winning races. Used to hang around waiting for him to fire it up.
     

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