In Conversation with Bojan Jankulovski - Head of Operations, Maserati India
With a focus on customer experience, Maserati plans to make the year 2019 big for the Indian market.
Maserati's Bojan Jankulovski. (Image: Maserati)
Maserati, the super-luxury car manufacturer from Italy is known to manufacture performance-oriented luxury vehicles for over a century now and hold a niche in the global market. From Quattroporte to Levante SUV, Maserati is among the most desired brands in the world and re-started their Indian innings in 2015. With a focus on customer experience, Maserati plans to make the year 2019 big for the Indian market and we got in touch with Bojan Jankulovski - Head of Operations, Maserati India to understand company’s plans for India. Here’s an excerpt from our conversation-
News18 – Define Maserati’s operation in India with a highlight on the journey so far?
Bojan - We re-entered India in 2015 with a strong focus on customer experience. With a combination of strong partner network, better customer service and deepened engagement we have been able to enhance the brand’s accessibility across key growth markets. Furthermore, we have seen an increasing demand from tier II and III cities and to that end we have also been able to achieve a higher penetration into these markets. The luxury car market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 20-25% till 2023 and Maserati, through regular introductions of updated variants of its flagship models and an active digital and social engagement aims at establishing a deeper entrenchment with brand aficionados and prospective buyers in India. The response that we received in India thus far is quite encouraging and attests the fact that the Indian market is thoroughly ready for the latest supercars.
News18 – How do you see the Luxury car market in India as a whole?
Bojan - The success of luxury auto brands is mainly determined by their ability to recognize and understand the complexities of Indian market and at the same time be agile and innovative to provide affluent consumers a bespoke and unparalleled brand experience. Having said that, as the consumer evolves further, they are going to lay greater emphasis on whether the brand resonates with their personality and lifestyle choice. Hence, in the next three to five years, the challenge will lie on the carmaker level to recognize this shift. The brands will have to focus on factors that distinguishes them. For Maserati, it’s the exclusivity that comes with the brand’s lineage is what sets it apart.
News18 – Why Maserati stands apart from other luxury and performance manufacturers?
Bojan - As a super-luxury niche player, we are not chasing volumes. Our goal is to provide performance-oriented luxury vehicles coupled with an unprecedented customer experience. Therefore, we ensure that we stand out as a tailor-made suit in the world of uniforms. Constructed with the utmost attention to detail, every Maserati is a true masterpiece of Italian design and craftsmanship. When the Maserati brothers opened in 1914 the Officine Alfieri Maserati in the heart of Bologna, Italy, they could hardly have imagined the impact they would have on the world. Their vision, enthusiasm and expertise turned out to be the cornerstones of what would one day become a global brand, universally recognised as a symbol of motoring excellence.
News18 – Defining Maserati’s DNA – is it a luxury or performance manufacturer?
Bojan - It is both, and much more. Maserati stands for luxury, elegance, sportiness and performance. While our cars use the most technologically advanced engines on the inside, the exteriors boast of the classic styling that Maserati has been known for over 100 years. The biggest USP of the brand is its uniqueness – the combination of its history and heritage, ‘Italianity’, exclusivity, design, sound and performance – cannot be imitated. Maserati produces cars that never fail to thrill and inspire. The aspiration to wear the ‘Trident’ badge is what drives our current and potential customers.
News18 – How do you see the growing demand for performance SUVs globally?
Bojan - SUV market globally and in India, especially luxury SUVs is currently the fastest-growing and most competitive of all vehicle segments. According to SIAM, the sale of SUVs grew seven times faster than that of passenger cars in 2017-18. High ground clearance, better water wading capability and par excellence off-roading credentials, these are some of the major aspects that are attracting customers towards the SUV segment. Maserati introduced Levante, our first-ever super luxury SUV offering, in the Indian market in the early 2018. And the response we have received is overwhelming. Even though super luxury SUV penetration level in India is lower as compared to other markets, the leading luxury car manufacturers, including Maserati, are betting on the market's potential.
News18 – What are the challenges in the Indian market?
Bojan - Compared to developed counterparts, Indian market saw a tepid growth last year owing to a number of reasons like high import costs, depreciation of the rupee and liquidity crunch. While these factors have affected the auto industry at large, Maserati has remained relatively untouched.
News18 – How has Maserati tapped the digital growth of India to attract buyers?
Bojan - Luxury buyers are dismissive of ‘mass marketing’, instead are heavy & sophisticated users of online media. Specifically for the luxury auto industry, our audience is making their decision online. For Maserati, a significant portion of the total marketing budget is allocated towards digital/social media. Furthermore, we have a very sequential targeting approach for our communication – delivering different content in different formats to Maserati’s target audience to guide them through the customer journey. While campaigns can be very effective in driving sales and engagement, there are new car buyers out there every day. Therefore, we are always on. Always plugged in. Always in touch.
News18 – What are the future products and strategy in India?
Bojan - We would be introducing our entire MY19 range across Ghibli, GT, Quattroporte & Levante in India. But for this year, our biggest launch would be Levante Trofeo in the second half of the year. We launched our first ever SUV offering: the Maserati Levante last year in India. The thought process behind Levante was combining sports with recreation – a powerful and sporty Maserati engine with a versatile and effective car body of an SUV. Trofeo is the first Levante built around a V8 engine and one of the fastest SUVs ever built, boasting a top speed of 304 km/h. The Levante Trofeo is equipped with one of the most powerful engines ever fitted in a Maserati. In the 104-year history of the Trident, only the race-bred, limited series MC12 boasted a higher output engine, an aspirated 630hp V12. And just like Levante, we anticipate great response from the Indian market for Levante Trofeo.
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