Maser at­tack

For sheer num­bers, Ital­ian maker Maserati is about to be­come the pres­tige Mazda

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - PRESTIGE -

NEW names and a new SUV will drive a rapid and rad­i­cal rise in Aus­tralian Maserati sales.

The Ital­ian car­maker fore­casts an un­prece­dented ten­fold in­crease in lo­cal de­liv­er­ies in just three years.

The pre­dic­tion comes as Maserati con­firms Le­vante as the name for its up­com­ing SUV, pre­vi­ously dis­played at mo­tor shows as the Kubang. It comes via Emilia Le­vante, a street in Bologna where the Maserati broth­ers first dreamt of their car com­pany.

It has also con­firmed the con­tin­u­a­tion of the Qu­at­tro­porte name and po­si­tion, but an­nounces the de­ci­sion to build a new four­door pres­tige sedan that re­news the Ghi­bli name.

The head of Maserati in Aus­tralia, Neville Crich­ton, ex­clu­sively told Cars­guide: ‘‘ We’re look­ing for a mas­sive in­crease in vol­ume. Over the next three years we see mas­sive growth.

‘‘ There is a new SUV, a new Qu­at­tro­porte, and the new E Se­ries. That will mean ten­fold growth over three years.’’

Maserati used the Paris show to un­veil its lat­est hotrod, the GranCabrio MC, but all the talk is about fu­ture growth as the com­pany pre­dicts a vol­ume in­crease to 15,000 cars by the end of 2015. ‘‘ Our tar­get is we’re go­ing af­ter Mercedes cus­tomers and BMW cus­tomers,’’ Crich­ton says.

‘‘ We’ll have much bet­ter cars. It’s go­ing to com­pete se­ri­ously with Mercedes.

‘‘ Our com­pe­ti­tion will clearly be main­stream com­pe­ti­tion, Mercedes and BMW. We’re not go­ing af­ter Bent­ley; we sell dou­ble Bent­ley now. We’re not go­ing af­ter As­ton; we sell tre­ble As­ton now.’’

The Ghi­bli is set to de­but next year and the Le­vante will arrive in 2014 as part of the com­pany’s centenary. The Ghi­bli name was first used by Maserati on a two-door GT in 1967, then re­turned on an­other two-door in 1992.

Crich­ton dis­misses fears about Maserati’s qual­ity and also con­firms a ma­jor dealer de­vel­op­ment in Aus­tralia.

‘‘ We have no prob­lems with war­ranty now with Maserati. Noth­ing,’’ he says. ‘‘ The ear­lier cars, with the older trans­mis­sions, they’re gone. They’re his­tory. The new cars have an eight-speed trans­mis­sion.

‘‘ On the dealer side, we’ll be putting an ad­di­tional deal­er­ship into Sydney, on the north shore, and an ad­di­tional deal­er­ship at Brighton in Mel­bourne. We’ve just ap­pointed a new dealer in Ade­laide. Perth and Bris­bane can only ac­com­mo­date a sin­gle dealer and I think they’re do­ing a good job for us.’’

Paul Gover

Fore­run­ner: Maserati’s GranCabrio MC was un­veiled in Paris

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