FINDING THEIR FEET: Maserati SA has been on a roll the last 17 months; reestablishing itself as a contender in SA's luxury car market. Image: Wheels24 / Charlen Raymond
Cape Town - Little over 17 months ago, Maserati broke away from Ferrari and the Fiat-Chrysler Group to establish itself as an independent automaker.
And this decision had an effect on South Africa too, with the brand pushing hard towards becoming a recognised and respected name in the local auto industry.
Maserati is not unfamiliar to South Africans. For years it’s been a part of Ferrari and the fabled carmaker’s arsenal. But since Fiat joined forces with Chrysler and Ferrari became a publicly traded company, Maserati HQ opted to do things on its own and maintain its unique offering of exclusive vehicles.
Ties with the EAI
When the European Automotive Imports (EAI) of South Africa took over the import and sales’ duties of Maserati in SA almost two years ago, it acquired a 2500m2 property in Bryanston, Johannesburg.
At 80% complete, the premise serves as the headquarters to Maserati SA and is also the biggest Maserati dealership in the Southern Hemisphere.
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Five months after the takeover the (new) Cape Town office opened and in the coming months Durban will be opening its doors, as well. Maserati SA, then, is well on its way to having a national footprint that caters to both sales and servicing.
The automaker’s new owners in SA are also intent on bringing new models to the market, with Maserati Cape Town only revealing that the first new car - apart from its Levante SUV - will arrive within the next two years.
Keeping it niche
Maserati is not keen on selling volume cars, but is content with selling quality vehicles that exudes what clients have come to expect of the brand. Globally, Maserati aims to sell 75 000 vehicles per year.
In keeping with this exclusivity, Maserati says it sends its technicians to Italy and Dubai for specialised training to ensure that the craftsmen and women working on the vehicles are of the highest calibre. This training, according to Maserati, is done to enhance the overall experience of sales and after-sales services in order to keep all its customers happy.
Ranging from marketing and sales to client and after-sales relations, the men and women leading Maserati SA at the front have a combined industry experience of more than 50 years. Experience that is being put to the test - and being tested - on a daily basis.
Current line-up of cars
Forming part of Maserati’s current model line-up is the Ghibli. This sedan is the company’s best-selling vehicle at present and does battle against the likes of the BMW 5-Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
The Quatroporte is the automaker’s biggest sedan, but is aimed at delivering the type of performance that can rival any challenger.
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The GranTurismo and GranCabrio are designed to offer two-door fun wrapped in Italian flair.
The latest edition to the range is the Levante - Maserati’s first SUV. The company says that the vehicle is not an SUV, but a lifestyle vehicle that represents everything Maserati stands for. The Levante is uncharted territory for the Italian automaker, but their research showed that the luxury SUV market is ready for the picking and South Africa is one of the favoured markets.
Maserati’s head honchos are committed to establishing the brand in SA and have given the nod for the company’s long-term future in the country.