Maserati has revealed a bold new plan to increase its annual sales in Australia tenfold.
The luxury Italian marque typically sells about 140 vehicles in Australia per year. By 2016 it aims at getting the number near 1500 - roughly the same amount of cars Porsche sold last year - including New Zealand sales.
Maserati Australia and New Zealand general manager Glen Sealey was in Perth last week as the company showcased some of its upcoming models at the Barbagallo showroom as part of its 2014 Collection Road Show.
Mr Sealey admitted the plan was ambitious. The projection was based, he said, on the models the company would release in the coming years, some of which were on display last week. They included the new Quattroporte, Ghibli and four-seater GranTurismo MC Stradale.
Also on show was the GranCabrio MC, which has just hit the market.
Arriving in March, the Ghibli will become the most affordable model in the Maserati range, with an expected price of about $200,000 plus on road costs - roughly $50,000 less than the company's current lowest-priced offering.
The Ghibli aims to be a bit more sporty than the bigger Quattroporte and, in a first for Maserati, will have a turbo-diesel option.
Another key model which will break new ground for the company will be the Levante luxury SUV based on its Kubang concept. Set for local release next August, it will mark a move into a new segment for Maserati.
The new flagship Quattroporte arrives later this year.
The marque plans on introducing a new model into Australia every six months over the next two years.
"Aiming for 1500 sales a year is a big jump," Mr Sealey said.
"If it was a jump off the current model range, you'd say that's not possible. When you look and see that it's organic and with all-new models, it's certainly sustainable.
"The new Quattroporte is larger and a bit more practical, which will put us into an area of the market where we've not been traditionally. The Ghibli certainly opens up a segment we've never been in. And the SUV, for us, will be massive. It will be more than 50 per cent of our volume."
While some might see the introduction of a more affordable model and an SUV as somehow cheapening or diminishing Maserati's reputation as an ultra top-end sports-car brand, all concerns would be erased once they saw the products, he said.
"There's always a danger people may think that," he said.
"If the Ghibli wasn't a true Maserati, there would be a danger of that. But if the Ghibli embodies everything a Maserati should be, there's no danger in it. If the Ghibli handles and sounds like a Maserati should and still has some of the finest materials and still looks good, then I think that's less of a danger."
On face value, such characteristics - namely the pinpoint-precise handling - wouldn't seem to be the easiest to transfer across to an SUV. However, Mr Sealey stressed no car would ever make it out of the testing phase with a Maserati badge if it didn't comply to
the company's strict standards.
"It says a lot about the philosophy of Maserati; it's very authentic," he said. "They know authenticity is important and that will flow through to the SUV. If this car turns out to be just another run-of-the-mill SUV then it will be difficult for us.
"But if they put everything a Maserati is into an SUV, it will be terrific. And it will be the latter."
Such expansion will also require a significant increase in dealerships and servicing centres. Sydney and Melbourne are set to see second dealerships established, though changes locally will be minimal.
"Perth is a terrific market for Maserati. We do well but I think one dealer is enough for here," he said.The Ghibli certainly opens up a segment we've never been in. And the SUV will be massive.