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Maserati to peg Aussie sales at 1500 units

Next big thing: The Levante SUV - due in Australia next year - is a key element of Maserati's ambitious growth plans.

Australia vital to Maserati’s growth plans but global and local volume to be capped

8 Jul 2014

MASERATI is on an unprecedented growth spurt but will cap annual sales at 75,000 vehicles globally and restrict volume in Australia to 1500 units from 2016 onwards.

In an interview in Sydney today, Maserati’s director of general overseas markets Umberto Cini set down the sales targets – and the global and Australian ceiling – that will flow from new models including the expanded Quattroporte flagship sedan range now on sale, the just-launched smaller Ghibli sedan, the Levante SUV arriving next year and the Alfieri two-seater coupe due in 2016.

“Our short-term target is to reach 50,000 sales globally (and) we’re looking at 75,000 units in 2018,” Mr Cini said. “We’re definitely on fire, as they say.

“For the next 100 years we’ll do 1500 (in Australia from 2016) – we are capping our production. Globally, we’re not going to go over the 75,000.” Mr Cini admitted that 75,000 represented a huge increase in sales for Maserati, but said that in vehicle manufacturing terms the figure was small and would ensure the Italian luxury marque retained its exclusivity.

“We’re talking about impressive numbers for us. Yes, it’s an amazing result. But even if we double or double the double it’s still in a very exclusive environment,” he said.

 center imageLeft and below: Maserati director of general and overseas markets Umberto Cini.

“We worked it out from the market figures. Globally, our total maximum market that we could talk to was around 350,000 customers. It’s going to be over a million customers in 2018.

“So the numbers come out of the history and out of the market figures considering our historical performances and our market share.” The decision to aggressively expand the Maserati brand worldwide was announced in May as part of Fiat-Chrysler’s five-year plan.

Between now and 2019 Maserati will roll out seven new models. Following the redesigned Quattroporte and the all-new Ghibli, Levant and Alfieri will be a new GranTurismo four-seater coupe in 2017, a cabriolet version of the Alfieri in 2018 and a new GranCabrio four-seater convertible in 2019.

Mr Cini said he was confident Australia would meet its sales target of 1500 units by 2016.

Last year, Maserati sold 134 vehicles – a figure it has already eclipsed in the first half of 2014, with VFACTS figures released last week showing 154 sales to the end of June, up 92.5 per cent.

While Quattroporte and GranTurismo are responsible for the bulk of Maserati’s current sales volume, the Ghibli is expected to account for 60 per cent.

According to Mr Cini, Australia will be a key market in helping the brand realise its global sales ambitions.

“It’s in the top 10 for volume,” he said. “But in market share Australia always ranks in the top five markets of the world and even better. Some years the market share we had in Australia is second only to the domestic market, so excellent performances.” Mr Cini’s portfolio focuses on Japan – the third-biggest market globally, behind the US and China – as well as the Middle East, South Korea, South-East Asia, India, Africa and Australasia. It is a broad range of countries taking in emerging and mature markets.

“In terms of single market (sales) in my portfolio of countries, Australia is number four. Japan is number one, then you have Korea and UAE then Australia, but ... those (other) markets have already received the Ghibli.” A major factor in achieving the Australian sales target will be upgrading and expanding Maserati’s retail network.

“There’s some amazing investment in development,” Mr Cini said, pointing to three new dealerships underway, two of which will be opened this year.

“We have really done a lot of work and we will do even more in terms of network,” he said.

“We’ll open a facility in Sydney, we’ll open another facility in Melbourne (and) we are focusing to have a new facility in Queensland.” A larger dealership is also planned for Perth, while a new standalone facility is underway in Adelaide.

Mr Cini also said the focus was not just about building “churches” – new dealerships – but also training the entire network from both a technical and sales point of view.

Maserati’s sister company Ferrari is scaling back production to protect the exclusivity of the brand, and in Fiat-Chrysler’s five-year plan made it clear that it would not go beyond 10,000 sales a year.

Mr Cini said Maserati’s 75,000 ceiling would still maintain the brand’s exclusivity and reputation, which is more about “exclusive” cars than exotica.

“Ferrari is a great brand, probably one of the greatest brands of the world that produce fantastic exotic cars. We are a similarly amazing brand that produces exclusive cars,” he said.

“It’s a different company purpose.” Mr Cini said vehicle supplies from the factory in Italy should be able to support the expected demand in Australia, but acknowledged that production limits could be a factor.

“We used to sell a few 10s of units here, we’re now going to sell a few hundreds,” he said. “But our production capability is not infinite.” Maserati’s Italian origins are also crucial to its continued success.

“For us we are one of the most historical brands in Italy and we work on that element and if you look at our history it’s routed in Italian culture in terms of motorsport and in terms of production,” Mr Cini said.

“Production is in Italy also because it allows us to be more efficient with the platform.

“We can use the strengths and the leverage of the group. Italian is a core value, so they will (always) be produced in Italy.”

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