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Maserati to weather market in decline

Petrol power: Maserati Australia says its recently released Levante 350 will be its best seller in 2019.

Softening market no threat to Maserati’s five per cent premium-segment share

12 Feb 2019

MASERATI Australia chief operating officer Glen Sealey predicts a hard year for the premium new-vehicle market but is confident the Italian sports-luxury marque will keep its head above water.


Speaking to GoAuto at a media event in Sydney last week, Mr Sealey said Maserati Australia should retain its market share despite a difficult economic climate for premium vehicles.


“If we look at last year, we sold 705 cars in Australia and New Zealand combined, but we do see a tough year ahead on both sides of the Tasman,” he said.


“I’ve already seen the January numbers, and the total market was down seven per cent, and normally when the market is down like that, the luxury market goes down even further, so we see a pretty tough year from a market perspective in 2019.


“We achieved five per cent market share for the first time last year, and we expect the same in 2019 … that may mean a little less volume, but if that’s the case, then that’s the case.”


In Australia, Maserati sold 642 units in 2018, with the Levante large SUV its best seller with 346 deliveries.


The Ghibli was next best with 194 units, while the GranTurismo coupe and GranCabrio convertible achieved 58 sales and the Quattroporte recorded 44.


However, sales have slowed, with Maserati Australia recording a 70.8 per cent drop in January, compared to the same month in 2018.


It sold just 33 units, with all but the Quattroporte recording a significant sales decline.


Mr Sealey believes the drop in sales is to be expected as the overall market begins to fall, and as the brand has seen “significant growth” in recent years, it remains unfazed.


“We’ve grown our volume six-fold in just five years, so we now have to take a breath and consolidate,” he said.


“Ideally we’d be consolidating in a market that is growing, but we are consolidating in a market that is declining, so it’s a harder consolidation but nonetheless the right thing to do for the brand.


“There’s a number of factors affecting the market – credit availability, confidence due to the housing market coming off and nervousness around the election.”


Four new Maserati models have been confirmed for 2019, starting with the limited-edition Ghibli Scatenato that is now available and the Levante Vulcano Edition that hits the market in March with just seven units allocated.


Towards the end of the year, Maserati will also launch its V8-powered GTS and Trofeo variants to sit atop the Levante line-up.


In November last year, Maserati Australia lowered the point of entry to its Levante with a petrol-powered variant, which is known colloquially as the Levante 350 due to its 350hp V6 engine.


Mr Sealey said he expected the Levante 350 to be Maserati Australia’s biggest seller in 2019, as it represents stronger value than the once-top-selling Turbo Diesel.


However, he still believes the oil-burner has a place in the Maserati range.


“The Levante 350 will be our biggest seller, which is interesting because of the dynamics in the SUV segment have always been diesel-focused,” he said.


“We do see that changing, Porsche for instance no longer have a diesel, but we still see a future in it.”

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