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Levante to double Maserati sales
Maserati’s Levante SUV set to give Austraian sales a serious boost
16 Oct 2015
AUSTRALIA’S ongoing obsession with SUVs is expected to double Maserati’s sales here when the high-riding Levante finally arrives late next year.
Maserati Australia chief operating officer Glen Sealey said he does not believe the brand is arriving to the segment too late to take advantage of Australia’s taste for SUVs and believes the company will enter the segment “in the right way”.
“The worst thing you could do would be to be there in the wrong way as it impacts the rest of the brand,” he told GoAuto.
Pricing for the SUV – which is expected to further increase the brand’s appeal to younger and female buyers – is yet to be determined but Maserati is working on appropriate pricing relative to the Ghibli mid-sizer (priced between $140,000 and $170,000 plus ORCs) for the competitive Australian market.
“We have to do some more work on that but positioning-wise globally Levante will be more expensive. In Australia we have to look at that, we don't have a price position for Levante yet except to say that it will be at the very high end.”“Personally I would like to see Levante a-roundabout the Ghibli price, I think that's achievable,” he said.
While sales growth will be impeded by production caps of 75,000 a year globally, the brand expects to potentially double Maserati’s Australian sales with the addition of an SUV.
“It depends on price positioning but we'd like to see it perhaps double our sales volumes in Australia, which sets us up nicely for the next step up to 1000 units a year, perhaps we are even being a bit conservative in our estimates but I'd rather be like that,” he said.
Maserati ended 2014 with a record haul of 401 units – a 200 per cent increase over its 2013 result of 134 – thanks to the successful roll-out of the new Ghibli mid-sizer and the latest-generation Quattrporte.
So far this year the iconic Italian brand is ahead of the same period last year by 36.4 per cent, meaning it will be another record year for the car-maker.
Maserati changed platforms for the new Levante wagon, opting to build it on the underpinnings of the Ghibli and Quattroporte instead of using the chassis of the Jeep Grand Cherokee as first planned, retaining the core “made in Italy” value.
“It was a big decision to walk away from that investment. It shows how just how important it is to the company to be authentic,” he said.
A production version of the Levante is still yet to be uncovered, but it is expected to at least follow the styling of the Kubang concept from the 2011 Frankfurt motor show.
The brand’s 2014 Geneva motor show concept, the Alfieri, will further expand the Maserati range when it goes into production in 2017. The Alfieri is a rear- and all-wheel drive turbo V6 competitor for the Porsche 911 and Mercedes-AMG GT that is to sit alongside the existing Maserati model range.
“It stunned the world at Geneva in 2014, I'm delighted to say that it is definitely going into production. It will be the new model that follows Levante and sits under the Gran Turismo range. It's not a replacement, as such it expands the model line-up,” Mr Sealey said.
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