Meet Mis­ter Maserati

Premier Magazine (South AFrica) - - Contents - Text: Bernard Hell­berg Sr Images © Maserati South Africa

Although a fu­ture in the mo­tor in­dus­try was not part of the orig­i­nal plan that Ja­son Cleghorn, Head of Mar­ket­ing for Maserati South Africa, had at the start of his ca­reer – he stud­ied graphic de­sign at first – this trans­planted Brit ended up in the fas­ci­nat­ing world of dis­tin­guished cars al­most by ac­ci­dent.

From his back­ground as cre­ative director at var­i­ous ad­ver­tis­ing agen­cies, Cleghorn dis­played an al­most fa­nat­i­cal thirst for knowl­edge out­side the world of ad­ver­tis­ing, com­plet­ing an MBA in his field and re­ceiv­ing char­ter mem­ber­ship of the In­sti­tute of Mar­keters.

His first stint, as a graphic de­signer with the renowned Saatchi&saatchi agency, Cleghorn worked on var­i­ous re­tail cam­paigns be­fore de­cid­ing on a for­tu­itous move to South Africa, which would even­tu­ally see him head­ing up mar­ket­ing for the Maserati brand in the coun­try. It was dur­ing this tran­si­tion that Cleghorn, who by now had launched his own be­spoke agency, was first in­tro­duced to the mo­tor in­dus­try when he did some work for Fer­rari in South Africa.

His ex­cep­tional skill as a mar­keter was soon no­ticed, and he was of­fered a po­si­tion as full-time head of mar­ket­ing for Fer­rari and Maserati at Vigli­etti Mo­tors in Cape Town.

Cleghorn then un­der­took another mi­gra­tion of sorts by fo­cus­ing all of his at­ten­tion on the Maserati brand which, he says, ap­pealed to him be­cause of its long and il­lus­tri­ous his­tory in South Africa. This his­tory, Cleghorn em­pha­sises, also comes with a level of lux­ury and ex­clu­siv­ity that few if any of the brand’s peers can meet.

Par­tic­u­larly proud of the progress made by Maserati over the past two years, Cleghorn points to the new and ex­cit­ing range, in­clud­ing the Le­vante SUV, which has achieved con­sid­er­able suc­cess in the lo­cal mar­ket. He cred­its th­ese suc­cesses to Maserati’s abil­ity to meet the needs of their cus­tomers who de­mand some­thing dif­fer­ent, Maserati’s be­spoke level of ser­vice, a sound re­la­tion­ship with the im­porter, and the fact that the cus­tomer is al­ways the most im­por­tant part of the prod­uct and sup­port­ing ser­vice equa­tion.

Be­ing Maserati, and there­fore much more than just another set of wheels, the im­porter’s on­go­ing life­style cam­paigns, its concierge plat­form, and the Maserati academy train­ing, all score highly in the minds of own­ers who then ef­fort­lessly slot into the role of am­bas­sadors for the brand.

We pitched a bit of a trick ques­tion at Cleghorn, ask­ing him which his­tor­i­cal Maserati was his all-time favourite. “I have of­ten thought the A6G 2000 Gran­tur­ismo from around 1955 was one of the pret­ti­est cars ever made,” said Cleghorn, but with only some 20 of th­ese de­lec­ta­ble cars ever made, he nos­tal­gi­cally, and sadly, pointed out that own­er­ship of one of th­ese rare beau­ties would have to re­main an unattain­able dream.

But what then does Maserati’s “Numero Uno” man in South Africa drive? “All of them,” comes the re­ply, but there’s a no­tice­able soft spot for the MC Stradale and also the Le­vante SUV.

The cur­rent line-up of five mod­els, Cleghorn pointed out, will be joined by de­riv­a­tives such as an even more re­fined Qu­at­tro­porte, and a petrol ver­sion of the Le­vante. Then there are re­vised ver­sions of the Gran­tur­ismo and the Gran­cabrio set to en­ter show­rooms be­fore the end of the year.

Th­ese show­rooms, Cleghorn pointed out, will soon be joined by a third deal­er­ship in Dur­ban and, with him steer­ing the brand in a dy­namic new di­rec­tion, this fa­mous Ital­ian mar­que is poised to present a real chal­lenge to other im­porters of lux­ury cars.

Ja­son Cleghorn

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.