Maserati planning dealer network expansion


For Richard Trevisan, Maserati was a homecoming.

The executive has held high-ranking positions with the likes of smart, Mercedes-Benz and more both here and in Europe. But after Maserati Canada was incorporated last February, it seemed fitting Trevisan would be appointed head of operations.

After all, he shares the same birthplace as the brand’s two most popular models.

“I was born in Torino where Maserati has the production site for the Ghibli and Quattroporte,” he says. “It’s a perfect fit.”

Maserati Canada has its digs at parent company FCA’s Mississauga office. Now with a year under its belt as a separate Canadian entity, the automaker is set to grow the dealer network in response to increased sales volume and an expanding stable of offerings.

Trevisan says there are seven stores retailing Maserati in Canada now. Sales hit 507 units last year marking an eight per cent gain over 2014.

While he says there are open points to fill, he notes he can’t reveal the number of dealerships that will be added, as negotiations remain ongoing.

“We want to be closer to the consumer and the distance to service points for customers has to be convenient,” he says.

The Greater Toronto Area, for example, has dealer Remo Ferri’s three operations scattered between Oakville to the west, Vaughan to the north and the downtown Toronto store on Avenue Rd. just north of Bloor St.

The latter takes up a portion of a condo development’s main floor and does not offer service.

 Trevisan says downtown is a “high potential” candidate for additional coverage as is further east and central Canada.

As for the look of this future growth, the Oakville point has set the example for addition points as it is paired with Alfa Romeo.

“We are looking at maximizing traffic for profitability and sales for the dealers. The two brands very much compliment each other: we are under the same group, FCA, we are both Italian brands with Italian tradition,” he says.

The plan will see Alfa Romeo retail products up to a certain price range and size with Maserati topping that and offering “ultra luxury.”

Marketing Strength
Timing seemed to be everything for the brand in late 2013 to 2014.

The launch of the Ghibli was bolstered by Strike, an attention-grabbing advertisement launched during the 2014 Super Bowl.

The combination turned Maserati’s centennial anniversary year into a massive success. It globally sales hit 36,500 cars sold marking a stunning 136 per cent jump over 2013 and nearly six times 2012’s total.

Powering much of that volume at the time was Ghibli with 23,500 units delivered to the network.

Maserati said North America was its largest market in 2014 with 14,690 units and growth of 110 per cent compared to 2013. Not surprisingly, the second largest market in terms of volume was China with 9,400 units signaling a gain of 148 per cent compared to 2013.

The global tally last year wasn’t as rosy, though, as lower demand for Ghibli and Quattroporte in China and the U.S. brought shipments down 11 per cent in 2015.

The automaker even went so far to announce temporary layoffs in mid-February at its Grugliasco plant in Turin, Italy.

Signaling more strength on the horizon is the expected fall launch of Levante, the company’s first SUV.

Trevisan says marketing will be another major focus of his office this year as it looks to push further into digital media and develop more experiential event-based programs.

And while having just seven dealers might seem to handicap a marketing push, he notes a limited network is actually the first quick win in the advertising game.

“The advantage we have with seven dealers is through their market areas. For example, we have one dealer in Vancouver. This dealer is not competing with another Maserati dealer,” he says. “That focus means communicating to the consumer the advantages of Maserati, not that he has a better offer than somebody else.”