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Maserati to stick with Aussie distributor

Independent route: Maserati will leave European Automotive Imports to handle the massive growth expected in Australia over the coming years with new models such as the Alfieri.

Maserati says it has no plans to follow Ferrari and set up factory operation here

10 Jul 2014

MASERATI has reaffirmed its commitment to its independent distributor in Australia, European Automotive Imports (EAI), as it embarks on a massive expansion phase that will bring a host of new models and a target of 1500 annual sales here from 2016 – up from 134 last year.

The Italian marque’s managing director of general overseas markets Umberto Cini told GoAuto this week that Maserati had no plans to follow its fellow Fiat Group brand Ferrari’s move last year and switch from EAI to a factory operation handling importation and sales in Australia and New Zealand.

“Maserati’s main focus is producing cars and EAI’s own focus is to sell cars,” Mr Cini said.

“We don’t have any need to change something that works perfectly.”

A subsidiary of New Zealand-born businessman Neville Crichton’s Ateco Group, EAI took over distribution of Maserati and Ferrari vehicles in Australia and New Zealand in October 2005.

It handed over the reins of the Prancing Horse brand to the newly formed Ferrari Australasia in April last year, but maintains a significant retail presence with the Ferrari Maserati Sydney dealership.

The business of producing and selling Maserati vehicles is about to take on proportions never seen before in the 100-year history of the Italian sports-luxury car manufacturer.

Under Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ five-year plan announced in May, Maserati is working to increase global production to 75,000 units by 2018 and introduce several new models before the decade is out.

These will include the just-launched all-new Ghibli sedan, the forthcoming Levante SUV due next year and the Alfieri two-seater coupe scheduled to arrive in 2016, with a convertible version of the latter following two years later.

As GoAuto has reported, Mr Cini revealed this week that the goal in Australia was to reach 1500 annual sales by 2018, with supplies capped at this point to maintain exclusivity of the brand.

Mr Cini said he has high expectations of EAI, with a focus on improving customer service as production ramps up.

“The expectation is always the same – to have representation which is in line with the brand’s requirements,” Mr Cini said.

“We have to improve customer service and customer attention and, of course, to sell according to the selling plan.

“But again our personal expectation is to work hand-in-hand with our partner completely – communication, marketing, product pricing, aftersales, spare parts – everything which goes together with the brand.”

EAI is expanding its workforce and instituting training programs to ensure its staff and retailers are prepared for the influx of new models and the sales growth.

New standalone Maserati dealerships are being built in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, which will open next year.

A larger dealership is planned for Perth and a second Queensland facility will be built on the Gold Coast, bringing the total to eight dealerships in Australia and two in New Zealand.

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