If the stock market crashes, I’ll pour shares of this luxury brand into my ISA

Nobody knows when the stock market will next crash. But this Fool already knows the stock he will buy without hesitation whenever it does.

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While I can’t afford to buy a Ferrari (NYSE: RACE), I can invest in the iconic firm via the stock market.

Like its luxury vehicles, however, the company’s shares are priced very expensively. This is putting me off investing more money into Ferrari inside my Stocks and Shares ISA.

But if there was a stock market crash in 2024, I wouldn’t hesitate to double down on this company. Here’s why.

Not a car stock

Ferrari shares are currently trading on a forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 51.

In simple terms, this forward P/E ratio indicates that investors have to pay $51 for every $1 of earnings that Ferrari’s expected to generate in FY2024.

Therefore, the market is pricing in a very high probability that Ferrari’s medium-term earnings will grow significantly.

But investors could quickly counter that Ford trades on a forward P/E multiple of 6.3, which makes Ferrari look grossly overvalued for a car stock.

However, it’s important to remember that this is an ultra-luxury company that just happens to sell cars. It operates according to a dynamic that is distinct from almost every other firm on earth.

A Veblen product

In most sectors, price increases are a necessary evil. But in Ferrari’s rarified world, many uber-wealthy customers actually welcome price increases because this makes the product even more exclusive and desirable.

In economics, this is called the Veblen effect. In social psychology, it relates to the scarcity principle.

The firm’s CEO Benedetto Vigna succinctly described this powerful phenomenon when he said: “The client is giving a value to our cars because they are unique, because they are limited, because they are exclusive. We could make more, but that does not make sense. We will offend our clients.”

In 2023, Ford sold 4.4m cars worldwide while Tesla sold 1.8m. Meanwhile, Ferrari delivered just 13,663 vehicles, yet annual net profit exceeded €1bn for the first time.

Since 1947, fewer than 250,000 Ferraris have been produced. That’s less than Porsche sells each year!

Purring financials

To see the firm’s pricing power in action, consider that in 2015 revenue was €2.85bn. It shipped 7,664 cars at an average selling price (ASP) of €270,000 per vehicle. Its EBITDA margin was 25%.

In 2024, the company expects to generate more than €6.7bn in revenue selling just over 14,000 cars at an ASP above €400,000. The EBITDA margin should be over 38%!

Management has confirmed that its order book “remains strong across all geographies and covers the entire 2025.”

The future

Ferrari’s luxury cars have been roaring out of its Maranello factory in northern Italy for around 80 years now. So the transition to electric vehicles (EVs), which don’t naturally rev and roar, is a potential challenge.

By 2030, it is aiming for EVs to make up 40% of units sold. But perhaps customers might not like the manufactured EV sounds! This could harm sales and create uncertainty around the long-term EV strategy.

Nevertheless, there are about 8m (and growing) individuals worldwide with a net worth greater than $5m. This means Ferrari is selling its 14,000 cars to less than 0.2% of its potential market every year.

If it gradually increased that to 0.3% over time, without offending clients, the stock should perform well. Therefore, I’ll be loading up on any significant share price dip.

Should you invest, the value of your investment may rise or fall and your capital is at risk. Before investing, your individual circumstances should be assessed. Consider taking independent financial advice.

Ben McPoland has positions in Ferrari and Tesla. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Tesla. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

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