Making sense of Maserati

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Maserati has had little to rev about in recent years, with its last all-new model launch a decade ago. But now the famous trident symbol is back on the circuit and the Italian luxury car manufacturer is certainly in top form, with three new models to help it race from 6,200 sales in 2012 to 50,000 per year by 2015.

The first of the new cars, the Quattroporte, a family-sized sports car, was released in January, boasting the only Ferrari engine outside of a Ferrari. It will be followed by the all-new Ghibli — the brand’s first mid-size, four-door sports saloon and designed with the Chinese market in mind – this summer, and an SUV still to come in 2015.

The growth will also see the Modena-based company expand its international operations, with new sales points, including in the Middle East, and larger manufacturing facilities.

It marks a significant return for the century-old company, which until 2007 had failed to record a profit since it was bought by Fiat Group in 1993, and had come close to bankruptcy. It requires a big commitment and a truck load of new customers.

It’s hoped that many of those new Maserati fans will come from countries such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and their neighbours, and there is reason to have faith. Even before the new Quattroporte hit the road in January, Maserati had remained strong in the Middle East, where sales increased 37 percent in 2012 to 417 vehicles. The raw figure may be minuscule for an expansive region, but bear in mind only 6,200 Maserati-branded cars sold globally last year. This is truly a prestige brand.

Global overseas markets managing director Umberto Cini says the company hopes to leverage its increasing success in the region to help drive it towards the 50,000-car finish line.

Speaking to CEO Middle East from the driver’s seat of his beloved Gran Turismo convertible, the brand’s most recent model before the Quattroporte, Cini says new sales offices and showrooms will open in countries where Maserati already exists, including the UAE and Saudi Arabia, while it intends to open offices in new locations such as Jordan. 

“We are looking into Iraq at the moment [to see] if there are any business opportunities and wherever else there are opportunities in terms of volume,” he says.

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