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QLD gets Maserati makeover, but WA in doldrums

Room reveal: Maserati’s dealership network has undergone a major transformation in recent months.

Maserati Australia chief warns of downturn in mining states as east coast improves

17 Apr 2015

FOLLOWING a major refurbishment of its Brisbane dealership, Maserati distributor European Automotive Imports (EAI) will look to major regional centres for further expansion opportunities.

Maserati Australia and New Zealand general manager Glen Sealey has, however, sounded an ominous warning about trading conditions in areas that have, until now, enjoyed the benefits of Australia’s mining boom.

Mr Sealey said that the brand takes the presentation of each dealership very seriously.

“We’ve taken a much larger showroom (in Brisbane), said Mr Sealey. “Because our brand is authentic, we control everything when it comes to a showroom. We actually engage an Italian architect, fly him out or her, and go through look at the space and do a complete design package on that space.

“That is then handed over to an Australian firm to implement, but always in conjunction with the Italian architect.” Mr Sealey said that the majority of sites in the seven-strong dealer network have now been made over.

“The new dealership in Sydney is just a stunning place,” he said. “It's the same with the new dealership in Melbourne and Brisbane. Perth is due for construction next year, and Adelaide is open. The whole of the Australian network has been revamped.”

The refurbishment of the Western Australian dealership is going ahead this year, but Mr Sealey sounded a warning note about the viability of the marketplace on the west coast.

“If you look at Western Australia, it's amazing how fast the mining companies have moved to pull assets and resources out of WA,” he said. “It's had a devastating effect on the WA market. Cars (sales) are a great leading indicator, and I think the WA market is down about eight per cent in the last year.

“Now it bounced back in March, to be honest, but there's a significant investment gap. If you look at what investment has come out of mining versus what other industries are investing (in Western Australia), there's a massive gap.” Mr Sealey didn’t rule out the possibility of an additional dealership for the Gold Coast region, saying that EAI would look at viability and performance of any potential new site.

“If a dealership has a certain territory and can cover that territory off without another partner, we're okay,” he said. “As you can imagine, designing such retail spaces is not cheap. It's very costly per square metre. As long as there's viability, we will then ask for more investment.”

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