Maserati upbeat on sales potential in Asia-Pacific
published : 28 Mar 2023 at 07:06
newspaper section: Business
writer: Lamonphet Apisitniran
Demand for luxury cars in Thailand and Asia-Pacific remains robust despite a sluggish global economy, says Italian luxury car manufacturer Maserati.
The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) group prefers unique cars and are a key target market for Maserati, according to the company.
The automaker expects total sales in Asia-Pacific to exceed 4,000 units this year, up from 2,500 units in 2022, said Takayuki Kimura, head of Maserati for Asia-Pacific.
"The global economy may be slowing down, with a recession looming, but this should not affect Maserati sales," he said.
"Customers in the luxury car segment have strong financial and purchasing power to buy new cars."
The pandemic also did not affect Maserati sales, said Mr Kimura.
The company believes the economy in Asia-Pacific can keep growing, with better GDP growth prospects than in the US and Europe.
China, South Korea, Japan and Australia have a record of healthy sales of Maserati cars. In Asean, the Italian brand is most popular in Thailand and Malaysia, he said.
Maserati's share of the luxury market is less than 10% in Thailand. The company, which produces sedans, sport utility vehicles (SUVs), super cars and super sports cars, only markets sedans and SUVs in Thailand.
Maserati projects potential sales growth as the LGBTQ group, which loves modern cars with unique identities, has become a new target market, said Mr Kimura.
This group of customers comprises up to 20% of all Maserati buyers in Thailand, he said.
Mr Kimura said Maserati plans to launch electric vehicles (EVs), notably hybrid EVs and battery EVs, in Thailand within 3-5 years to catch the global trend, though oil-powered cars are still popular among buyers.
"The world is shifting towards clean and green vehicles," he said. "We will follow that trend because Thailand is a high-potential market for EVs."
The National EV Policy Committee announced in 2021 it wants EVs to constitute 50% of locally made vehicles by 2030, part of an ambitious plan to make Thailand a regional EV hub.
Maserati expects to sell 15 units in Thailand this year, on par with 2022, said Piyathep Siwakas, general manager of Maserati Thailand.
He said the Maserati MC20 has played a key role in driving sales in the country. The company chose Thailand to launch the Maserati MC20 Cielo in Asia-Pacific, with prices starting at 26.5 million baht.