Neiman Marcus limited edition car sells in 3 seconds
This year when Neiman Marcus opened the sales lines for its exclusive Christmas Book 2004 limited edition car - an NM customised 2005 Maserati Quattroporte luxury sedan - the company broke all previous car sales records. All 60 of the cars, priced at US$125,000 each, were spoken for within 3 minutes.
This means, according to The Wise Marketer's quick calculations, that one car was snapped up every three seconds on average, generating an average of US$41,666 turnover per second. Calls to the sales line began at noon on 14th October 2004, and all sales of the luxury cars were finalised within 36 minutes.
The cars, made by Maserati for the retailer's annual luxury gift catalogue, are without doubt an envied status symbol. But there may have been more than improved social status behind the rapid sale of the cars: there is also an 18 month waiting list for those wanting to buy a Quattroporte sedan through conventional channels.
The prize fits "The synergy between Maserati and Neiman Marcus goes beyond the sale of its newest luxury item," said Maurizio Parlato, president and CEO for Ferrari Maserati North America. "Based on our experience with the Neiman Marcus 'In Circle' rewards programme, we felt confident the car would be well received."
According to Maserati, its flagship sedan represents the automotive embodiment of the appreciation of beauty and good living, elegance, sophisticated engineering, high performance, and exclusivity. The Quattroporte has a 4.2 litre, 400 horse-power V8 engine, and can accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in only 5.1 seconds. Each NM Quattroporte features a new Bordeaux Pontevecchio metallic paint finish, chromed mesh-front grill and side vents, and 19" polished wheels. Inside, the custom handcrafted interior surrounds its occupants with ivory Poltrona Frau leather with Bordeaux piping and mahogany wood accents.
Top gifts First published in 1926 as a 16-page catalogue, the Neiman Marcus Christmas Book was originally intended as a Christmas card to its best customers. But throughout its history it has evolved into a wish list of alluring and imaginative gifts. The Neiman Marcus Christmas Book is distributed annually to some 2 million homes in the USA and around the world.
Other high value items available in the 78th Neiman Marcus Christmas catalogue include:
- His & Hers bowling centre: This 5,000-square-foot four-lane bowling and entertainment centre includes all necessary bowling equipment, four lanes, automatic pin setting systems, scoring video screens, movable seating, shoes and a large variety of bowling balls. The package includes lessons from professional bowlers, training for the systems, neon lighting, custom graphics over the lanes and personalised bowling shirts. The price starts at US$1.45 million.
- A suit of armour: There are twenty historically accurate suits of armour available for custom order. An artisan gathers measurements and a lower leg casting of each lucky recipient, then handcrafts and fits a brand new suit of armour straight out of the 15th century. The armour is hand-hammered from steel, and polished to a mirror finish. Each suit also includes two sword-fighting lessons, a steel display stand, and a custom-fitted arming doublet undergarment of padded linen - all for US$20,000.
- A zeppelin: The lucky buyer can be the first to privately own a modern Zeppelin NT. Re-engineered using the latest technology, the craft is even licensed to carry commercial passengers. Weighing eight tons and measuring 230 feet by 60 feet (and 53 feet high), it can accommodate 12 passengers, a pilot, and a flight attendant. The price tag for these high flyers is a mere US$10 million.
- Lifetime AAirpass membership: Alternatively, for US$3 million, a lifetime membership of the American Airlines AAirpass scheme can be purchased, allowing the traveller to book seating in any available cabin, with VIP privileges, on any open seat for American Airlines' 4,200 daily flights to 250 cities in more than 40 countries around the globe for the rest of their life. The AAirpass membership also offers access to the 42 American Airlines Admirals Club lounges around the world.
"For our customers, the arrival of the book marks the official start of the holiday season," said Brendan Hoffman, president and CEO for Neiman Marcus Direct.
Charity benefit In keeping with its tradition of philanthropy, the company has chosen 'Support for People with Oral and Head and Neck Cancers' (SPOHNC) as 2004's featured charity. A portion of the proceeds of certain items in the Christmas Book goes to the organisation, which helps survivors and their families receive the support and resources they need, and spreads much-needed advice on early detection and prevention of the condition.