European Automotive Imports (EAI), the company owned by New Zealand businessman Neville Crichton that has transformed Maserati’s position in the Australian and New Zealand markets over the past decade, has been appointed to distribute the products and services of the legendary Italian car maker in South Africa from 1 May 2015 through its subsidiary European Automotive Imports –South Africa (EAI-SA).
“We are delighted to be able to announce the appointment of EAI to handle Maserati in South Africa,” says Umberto Cini, Managing Director of Maserati General Overseas Markets. “EAI not only has a proven track record of handling Maserati with sales and customer satisfaction consistently rising since its appointment, it can also draw on the unique expertise its company owner, Neville Crichton, and his companies that have been at the forefront of vehicle distribution in Australasia and the USA for nearly 50 years.”
EAI took over the distribution of Maserati in Australia and New Zealand in 2005. New Maserati dealers opened in all the state capitals of Australia and in New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, as well as Maserati’s first customer service centre in New Zealand’s South Island. Coinciding with the arrival of the new Maserati Quattroporte and Ghibli all the existing dealers have been up-graded, additional dealerships opened in Sydney and Melbourne and the first stand-alone Maserati dealerships opened. Last year saw a 199.3 per cent increase in Australian sales and a 400 per cent rise in New Zealand sales in 2014 over the previous year.
“We are extremely honoured to be given the opportunity to handle Maserati in South Africa,” says Neville Crichton, the Executive Chairman of European Automotive Imports. “This is not just an outstanding vote of confidence in what we have achieved in Australia and New Zealand. It is also a clear acknowledgement that we have the people and the expertise to transform Maserati’s position in the South African market to offer a new benchmark for exclusivity and dedicated customer service supporting Maserati’s unique range of performance cars.”
The launch of European Automotive Imports in South Africa is being overseen by Glen Sealey, General Manager of Maserati’s EAI operations. EAI-SA will be based in Johannesburg with a South Africa dedicated team managing all aspects of the new business and able to draw on the expertise of the parent company. In addition to running the national distribution of Maserati products and services, EAI-SA will open and run the Johannesburg Maserati dealership. It is seeking partners for representation in Cape Town, with a dealership in Durban planned for 2016.
“South Africa holds considerable potential for Maserati and has a wide range of synergies with Australia and New Zealand well beyond that they are all right hand drive markets,” says Glen Sealey. “These include a larger than average performance market sector, similar specification requirements and customers who demand real exclusivity and high levels of personalisation. For European Automotive Imports the move into South Africa is a unique opportunity to expand our company into a growing market, with a dynamic economy and an outstanding future.”
EAI-SA’s focus in South Africa will be on providing exemplary customer service as befits Maserati exclusivity. The Maserati Quattroporte is already renowned for its unique ability to personalise each car to its owners’ personal requirements. The award-winning new Maserati Ghibli, which EAI-SA will launch in middle of the year, will not only take Maserati into a new market sector for the legendary 101 year old marque, it will, with more personalisation choices than any other sector rival, add unmatched exclusivity to its aggressive sports sedan credentials.
Next year will see the launch of the new model that will be central to Maserati’s EAI-SA driven renaissance in South Africa, the Maserati Levante SUV. This stylish, high performance SUV will provide a unique blend of made-in-Italy style and exclusivity with real world performance and ability, which EAI-SA believes will prove irresistible to owners looking for the ultimate SUV.
Italy, a country synonymous for style, performance, and design as well as craftsmanship is a key element to Maserati’s appeal. Maserati may have expanded its model range and is preparing, after Levante, to launch the Alfieri sports car, but it will remain firmly and resolutely made in Italy. Equally, its dealerships will be havens of highly personalised service, with style and presentation that matches Maserati’s Italian roots, from the design of the dealership to the provision of the finest coffee for clients.
“While Maserati sales in South Africa, as they have around the world, will inevitably increase as we put our plans in place, achieving this sales target or that market share is not what our long term plan for South Africa is about,” says Mr Sealey.
“We will provide South African car buyers with a new level of exclusivity, personal customer service and personalisation that has not been previously available at this level in the market. Maserati owners will be able choose from a unique range of cars that fully befit a marque with Maserati’s century of achievement, from performance to style, how they sound, the handcrafted materials used in the interior and personalisation.”
“In short,” says Mr Sealey, “unlike its rivals, the Trident badge will continue to be seen only on exclusive cars that offer exceptional performance and style and supported by world-class dealerships of the same exemplary calibre. It is this combination that we believe will deliver a great future for Maserati in South Africa.”