Personalisation is key to success in luxury vehicles market

The new Maserati Avante

The new Maserati Avante

The luxury vehicles segment in South Africa is completely different to any other market. It is a niche market that speaks to a very particular customer. In a country where there are many players who successfully operate in this space, how does a global brand create a presence that resonates with a South African audience?

“The answer is simple. Personalisation,” says Jason Cleghorn, head of marketing at Maserati South Africa.

There is no doubt that Maserati has become an iconic brand known for exclusivity, Italian design, performance and craftsmanship, but, says Cleghorn, to really stand out in the crowd and to keep clients coming back for more, the key to success is understanding the customer requirement.

This is especially important given the tough competition in the market, a stagnating economic climate and weakened exchange rate. As consumer pressure increases, clients search for vehicles that will give them the best return on their investments. This means that players in this segment simply have to know their customer better, and go beyond the ordinary to deliver, he says.

“The internet has changed the way customers shop: by the time they step onto the showroom floor, they already know what is they are looking at, so it is about offering something that is unique and different, as well as knowing who it is that you are talking to.”

He explains that Maserati recently unveiled its revised Quattroporte 2017, which has specifically been designed for entrepreneurs and dynamic trailblazers. He adds that it represents the quintessence of Italian sport sedans, yet embodies the entrepreneurial spirit that exists in South Africa.

“As with all the vehicles offered by Maserati, our flagship Quattroporte can be fully customised to reflect the owner’s personal style. We have introduced two new trim strategies, the GranSport and the GranLusso. Customers can choose which option better suits their lifestyle,” says Cleghorn.

The new trim strategy for both the GranLusso and GranSport was conceived to meet the needs of clients who seek a differentiated and unique product in the luxury sedan segment. The GranSport is geared for the sporting enthusiasts who want their vehicles to reflect their more athletic lifestyles, sporting the highly distinctive and dramatic GranSport trim. The GranLusso represents style and enhanced exclusivity, for those who seek to live on the more lavish side of life; with a bespoke interior styled and appointed by the leading fashion house Ermenegildo Zegna. Maserati is the only brand in the world to feature bespoke silk interiors.

Cleghorn says that this ties into the brand’s strategy to constantly exceed the customer expectation, with tailor-made offerings and experiences that are made just for them. It is at this level of personalisation and bespoke exclusivity where potential customers get involved in the creation process of their own vehicle, rather just buying one from the showroom floor — and this ensures their return.

“Our configurator allows prospects to personalise their choice of vehicle – so they can actually love their vehicle before they take delivery.”

He adds that equally important is ensuring that the customer journey at Maserati doesn’t end once the sale has been finalised, but continues at after-sales.

“Our South African after-sales division has recently been rated the top after-sales team in the Maserati Middle East, Africa and India region. As this award was voted for by Maserati customers, this is confirmation that the Maserati experience in South Africa is truly exceptional,” says Domenico Cosentino, head of after-sales for Maserati South Africa. He adds that the Maserati Experience includes access to unique after-sales benefits.

He says that it is this commitment to excellence, as well as forming a long-lasting relationships with clients, that ensures the brand’s level of service goes beyond the ordinary.

“Creating one-on-one experiences that deliver on, or better still, exceed the customer’s expectation of what a brand is, is key to success in this market,” concludes Cleghorn.