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Maserati pushes price and quality

Maserati believes it can double its sales in the UK this year from just over 400 in 2006, if it can persuade people its models are not £125,000 supercars. Peter Denton, head of sales for Maserati GB, said: “We are a supercar, but much more affordable than say a Ferrari, Aston Martin or Bentley.”

Prices start at £77,215 for the Quattroporte - £86,105 for the Executive GT – while the Gran Turismo comes in an £78,500. Both models are powered by a 4.2-litre, V8 engine.

Denton also believes 1,000 cars a year in the UK are possible once the brand can rid itself of a perception of poor quality and re-sale values.

“I’m not sure where that perception came from,” he said. “We are working hard on pushing up our residual values and according to Glass’s Guide we are now on a par at the top of the segment with the Mercedes S500.”

Denton said that Maserati’s relationship with Ferrari – it is now owned by the Prancing Horse brand – has pushed it forward in terms of technology and performance.

One issue the brand has to face in the UK is increased green taxes for performance vehicles and falling sales in the luxury segment.

Denton said: “I don’t think the tax issue is a big problem because if people are paying this much for a car, they are not going to be too worried about additional tax.

“Also in the coupe segment we only launched the Gran Turismo last year and this market has traditionally been strong. It remains pretty flat in terms of sales. There’s always a market for cars such as the Porsche 911, Audi R8 or Jaguar XK.”

The luxury saloon segment was down 22 per cent last year however. Denton added: “We are more concerned by that segment but we believe that with the Quattroporte we can offer something a little different – a supercar for the price of a Lexus or BMW.

“There is an opportunity for growth in the UK, there is a lot of enthusiasm for the brand and we have a strong order book. There are restrictions on the number of vehicles we can get from the factory but that is no bad thing, it keeps us exclusive and we do not want to over supply the market.”

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