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Growing Growth

gulfconnoisseur May 4, 2015 0
Growing Growth

Italian luxury car manufacturer, Maserati, celebrates its centenary with a drive event in the serene settings of Muscat, Oman

It was just over a century back – on December 1, 1914, to be exact – that Maserati was established by Alfieri Maserati and his brothers in Bologna in Italy. To befittingly celebrate its hundredth anniversary, Maserati has brought out Centennial Editions of their best-selling GranTurismo MC Stradale and GranCabrio MC.

Media guests from around the world joined in Muscat, Oman, to drive these commemorative models as well as Maserati’s line-up of other 2015 models, including variants of the flagship saloon, Quattroporte, and the sports executive sedan, Ghibli.

The city of Muscat, aptly called ‘Arabia’s jewel,’ proves to be the perfect location for Maserati’s Centennial Drive, with its beautiful landscapes, inspiring culture, rich history, based on its frankincense-trading past, and its Bedouin values. Topped with golden minarets, Muscat lies sparkling white, in the middle of a maze of pleated mountains that reach down to the Arabian Sea.

The event is rich with recollections of the long history of the brand, especially the roles played by the founding brothers. Their passion and talents contributed to creating the company’s DNA – innovation, excellence and challenge – all of which are reflected in Maserati’s claim, “The Absolute Opposite of Ordinary.”

The brand’s emblem, the trident, inspired by Bologna’s Piazza del Nettuno fountain, was chosen to symbolise the ties of the brothers to their hometown, and to represent the artistry and craftsmanship for which Bologna and Emilia-Romagna are known.

Currently owned by the Italian car giant, Fiat S.p.A., the company has its headquarters and main production location in Modena in Italy, while another world class manufacturing facility started production in 2013 in Grugliasco, outside Turin.

Umberto Cini, Managing Director of Maserati Global Overseas Markets, who speaks glowingly of the heritage that is the brand’s legacy, has set his focus on the future, “We are celebrating our centennial anniversary – an important milestone in honouring our history – but, at the same time, we have to keep our eyes firmly fixed on the future. Through exciting new products, strong investment into production facilities and network infrastructure as well as by entering new markets, we are on track to achieving our global goal of producing 50,000 cars per annum, while remaining true to our values.”

With 36,500 Maseratis reportedly sold worldwide in 2014, an increase of 136 percent over sales in 2013 and almost six times the sales figure for 2012, the growth is coming in from all the main markets in which Maserati operates. This achievement is said to be largely due to the sales generated by Ghibli, Quattroporte and the exclusive range of GranTurismo and GranCabrio sports cars.

The results in the Middle East and Africa region are said to have been especially impressive, with 2,050 units sold, resulting in a growth of 155 percent compared to 2013. The strongest performing market in this region is the UAE, accounting for 43 percent of the market volume and growing by 209 percent, followed by Saudi Arabia at 178 percent and Kuwait at 166 percent. All other Middle East markets also registered impressive growth rates.

The impetus to sales growth in this region has been driven by the launch of the Quattroporte, equipped with a new 330hp engine, and the Ghibli, which accounted for over half the retail sales.

These very same cars continue as cornerstones to Maserati’s growth strategy, in addition, of course, to the GranTurismo and GranCabrio ranges.

Then, again, Maserati plans to expand its portfolio by introducing its first-ever model in the SUV segment and the Maserati Alfieri, a two-door coupe, which was presented at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show.

2015 will be the year of the Q4, Maserati’s four-wheel drive system, which will be introduced first on the Ghibli and Quattroporte sedan models.

We can also expect the launch of the highly anticipated Levante. “The Levante, our first ever luxury sports SUV, will be a key product for Maserati in the MEA region, considering its strong SUV affinity,” explains Umberto Cini, forecasting that for the longer term, “There is a cabrio version of the Alfieri that is slated to arrive in 2018.” And, thus, the growth saga continues!

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