Maserati sales rocket in the UAE as first 4x4 fires up

Luxury car brand gains from arrival of new Levante 4x4 as registrations across the Middle East, Africa and India increase by more than a third.
The Maserati Levante 4x4 at Beijing International Automotive Exhibition in May. The luxury brand's first 4x4 helped to boost sales in August. Courtesy : Maserati
The Maserati Levante 4x4 at Beijing International Automotive Exhibition in May. The luxury brand's first 4x4 helped to boost sales in August. Courtesy : Maserati

Just five months after appointing a new chief, Maserati today reported a 42.5 per cent rise in UAE August on-year sales and a 75 per cent rise for Saudi Arabia, the luxury car’s biggest markets in the region.

The Italian company posted a 38 per cent increase for the Middle East, India and Africa region as a whole for the month compared with August 2015, pushed by the arrival of the Levante 4x4.

Italy is once again the company’s biggest European market, with 97 new registrations last month, representing a 273 per cent increase compared with August last year. This brings the total of Maserati vehicles registered in Italy in the first eight months of the current year to 1,050, and increase of 9 per cent compared with the same period of 2015.

The brand posted continuous growth on all the main European markets: the United Kingdom; Germany; Benelux; France; Switzerland; and Spain all made major contributions. The firm said 4,180 cars have been registered since the start of 2016, with an average rise of 6 per cent compared with the first eight months of 2015.

“This clearly reflects the success of the Levante, the first Maserati SUV, which has already gone on sale on a large number of markets,” the company said.

“The performance of the Maserati saloons – Quattroporte and Ghibli – was particularly striking in the United Kingdom, with a 52 per ent increase in sales compared to the same month of 2015; sales of the Maserati SUV are scheduled to start in this market in the last quarter.”

The surge in August sales comes two months after Fiat Chrysler Automobiles replaced Harald Wester as head of Alfa Romeo and Maserati.

Reid Bigland, the head of Fiat Chrysler’s sales in the United States and the chief of its Canadian operation, was named chief executive of Alfa Romeo and Maserati at the end of May. Both businesses have suffered recent performance setbacks, including delays in product launches and disappointing financial results.

Alfa Romeo has struggled in recent years and Fiat Chrysler’s much touted relaunch of the brand a year ago has stalled. The brand has failed to make significant inroads against stiff competition from BMW, Audi and others. In June, Fiat Chrysler presented the Giulia saloon, the first product to come from what was supposed to be a €5 billion (Dh20.5bn), five-year plan announced last year.

Fiat Chrysler has since reduced investment originally intended for Alfa Romeo so it could be directed to expanding other brands in the group’s portfolio.

Maserati’s expansion is pinned to the release of the Levante 4x4, the luxury brand’s first dip into the rapidly expanding segment. The surge in sales will come as a relief after a 13 per cent decline last year, as operating profit fell by almost two-thirds.

The Levante will be available in the rest of the world by year-end, the company said. The launch is a year behind schedule and comes a decade after the presentation of the crossover as a concept car.

Mr Bigland has overseen more than six years of Fiat Chrysler sales growth in the US. In Canada, he helped the company become the top seller in 2015, the first time its volumes surpassed Ford Motor and General Motors.

Of Mr Bigland’s promotion, Sergio Marchionne, Fiat’s chief executive, said: “It is time now for our efforts to be directed toward the global commercial expansion of these two brands [Alfa Romeo and Maserati], and I can think of no one better than Reid to fulfill that mission.”

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Published: September 19, 2016 04:00 AM


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