At present, a large number of the dealers already in the Maserati network operate as a dual franchise with Ferrari.
But the relationship with the Italian supercar maker is causing problems for Maserati customers, believes the firm’s regional manager for North Europe, Peter Denton.
‘We have a couple of issues relating to our relationship with Ferrari,’ he exclusively told Car Dealer. ‘Very often the image we give to the customer is almost intimidating – particularly if the rest of the showroom is made up of cars that cost at least £130,000.
‘There’s a concern that, particularly as we lower our price point with the new Ghibli, that a customer could be treated as a second-class citizen by a salesman who’s more used to a customer paying far more for their car than “just” £50,000.’
Denton explained Maserati UK is embarking on a large project to appoint new dealerships in order to make the brand appeal to new customers. Maserati recently appointed new dealers in Glasgow, Cardiff, Peterborough, Oxford, Maidstone and Blackburn.
But, by 2015, Denton wants the company to have 30 dealerships and for each site to be within a 50-minute drive of its core customer base. Ideally, Denton wants Maserati to have the right network for its customers – in both size and feel.
‘The Ferrari network is suitable for supporting the Ferrari network and positioned perfectly for their customer base,’ he explained. ‘We need more outlets and we need to be positioned far closer to the communities that can afford a Maserati. It’s a natural path for us to increase our representation separately from Ferrari.’
Denton was adamant that he has no bad feelings towards Ferrari – he’s just concerned about the how relationship is viewed by Maserati customers.
He said: ‘We’re not trying to distance our relationship with Ferrari – we’ve benefited from it over many years and through the Ferrari association our dealers have, the sites we’ve been represented have been of great quality.
‘But there’s no getting away from the fact that there are negative connotations for someone new to the brand who’s standing outside this dark-tinted showroom. Those who are brave enough to take the step inside – and I mean that in the nicest possible way – are pleasantly surprised.’