(MENAFN - Arab News) Umberto cini managing director of global overseas markets for maserati said in an exclusive interview with arab news that regional sales have increased by 24.5 percent in 2013 and in january 2014 the company sold more vehicles in the region than it did in the whole of 2007. sales in saudi arabia grew by 77 percent last year.
these are the highlights of the interview:
what is the size of maserati operations in the middle east based on sales figures of 2013 and how is the company doing in the saudi market?
the middle east is an extremely important and fast growing market for us of which saudi arabia is a major part. in 2013 our mea sales have increased by 24.5 percent and in january 2014 we sold more vehicles in the region than we did in the whole of 2007. sales in saudi arabia grew by 77 percent in 2013 compared to the previous year.
what new products from the maserati range are on offer to consumers in the middle east during 2014?
for the first time in maserati's history we have four models on sale in the middle east opening up our aspirational offering to a wider range of customers. the newest model the all-new maserati ghibli has only just become available to customers in the region and marks maserati's entrance into the e-segment with attractive pricing starting from 77000 (in the gcc).
based on your long experience with the me markets how did the regional markets develop over the last decade and how did maserati deal with that change?
the maserati regional office for the middle east and africa and later the global overseas markets was established in 2007 based on the need to further develop our business in the region. the global financial downturn of 2008 and 2009 was somewhat noticeable but the strongest impulse for growth was the 2013 launch of the new 6th generation quattroporte and the recent launch of our first ever e-segment sedan the ghibli. both models are core volume models and have multiplied our sales figures.
maserati is part of the fiat group how would it be affected by the merger of fiat and chrysler to form the fca group?
the group has and continues to be a strong supporter of maserati and is driving growth with investment both in new models and new production facilities. being part of the group allows us access to vast resources for shared development exchange of expertise production and so on — this of course only while maintaining the identity of maserati. the distribution channels and network for maserati in the region also remain separate.
what in your opinion distinguishes maserati cars from other competitors?
every maserati is like a work of art and an expression of a proud 100 year history: engineering excellence bespoke craftsmanship and unmistakable design. at maserati developing a new car means creating a new classic destined to once again set benchmarks. in this maserati's centenary year we have made an important promise for the next 100 years: that maserati will forever reject forever deny forever revolt to the uniformity of car making: we will always be the absolute opposite of ordinary. our history our passion our products and our brand all blend together to produce a unique luxury driving experience that continually sets us apart from our competitors.
how are the after-sale service and maintenance conducted in the region? are outlets separate or joined with other brands within the fiat group?
depending on the market service and maintenance is conducted either in maserati exclusive service facilities or in bi-brand facilities together with ferrari. in saudi arabia both facilities are bi-brand.
how many dealer outlets do you have in saudi arabia and how many service points are located in ksa?
maserati's are imported and sold in saudi arabia via our partner fast auto technic co. ltd. they have a showroom in both riyadh and jeddah. we are continuing our expansion with a mono-brand facility in the eastern region of saudi arabia in order to further increase convenience and accessibility for our customers.
how often do you travel to saudi arabia and how important is that market to maserati?
saudi arabia along with the uae and kuwait is one of the region's strongest markets in terms of sales volume. the kingdom has huge growth potential for maserati and will remain a key focus during 2014 and beyond. we speak with our importer in ksa on a daily basis and visit very regularly.
what are maserati objectives in the region in 2014?
during the past 12 months maserati has made a giant leap forward in the development of the mea markets. the historic sales record of 24.5 percent growth shows that we are on track for our global mission of producing 50000 cars annually within few years. our number one priority is to maintain this growth to achieve another record year in 2014 and at the same time provide our new and existing customers with an excellent ownership experience in terms of sales and aftersales service.