Maserati eyes big sales rise and more UK dealers

Ambitious plans for an eightfold increase is sales have been announced by luxury car maker Maserati.

The Italian manufacturer plans to increase the number of dealerships it has in the UK from 13 to 20 over the next three years as part of its drive to hit a worldwide sales target of 50,000 cars a year.

Globally Maserati, which is owned by the Fiat Group, wants to increase the number of dealers from 250 to 425 by 2015 with the ultimate aim of eventually doubling the current number to 500. Its bold expansion plans will see the number of dealerships on the Continent rising from 110 to 150.

The performance car maker's plans form part of the Fiat Group's aim to realign its brands in the UK with Maserati competing in the prestige sector with Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Audi; Alfa Romeo vying for sales with Ford and VW lower down the market; and Fiat becoming a small vehicle brand.

Maserati is relying on the launch of at least four new models, backed by some £960 million worth of investment, to drive the growth in sales and the number of dealerships it operates around the world.

Motorists in the UK should be able to get their hands on the new 3.8-litre V8 Maserati Quattroporte by late next spring or early summer with the model likely to be on the market for about £110,000.

Next autumn is set to see the launch of Maserati's new Ghibli - designed to compete with the BMW 5-Series - with the Levante, an all-wheel-drive SUV, expected to go on sale the year after next. Motorists purchasing the Ghibli or Levante will be able to opt for a diesel engine if desired, a first for the manufacturer which expects more than 80% of their sales to be diesel versions.

No details have yet been released by Maserati, but the company is planning the launch of a fourth new model in 2015.

Commenting on the sales target, Maserati Europe's managing director Giulio Pastore said: "It's a bold plan but we are confident that it can be done."

He admitted that with the company expecting to have sold 6,000 during 2012, driving sales up to 50,000 a year was "ambitious" but said they were "totally convinced" the target was a realistic.

Mr Pastore said they expected the demand for diesel cars in Britain and the rest of Europe would help the Ghibli and Levante generate a "massive" sales boost.

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