Trident tested strategy

DESPITE THE HIT that businesses of all stripes took because of the pandemic, there were admittedly some bright spots which kept the wheels of our economy moving. An area of note is the luxury segment, which ostensibly funneled the spending of not just the moneyed set, but even those on the fringes of wealth. As disposable income suddenly couldn’t be spent on travel and such, what remained as viable enticements for many were watches, gadgets, and, as one would imagine, cars. Thus, opportunities remained, and were taken advantage of, by those who saw the writing on the wall.

Take the case of Modena Motorsports, Inc., official country importer and distributor of Maserati, which continued to stay busy even during the darker days of the COVID-19 spread. “On the ground, during the pandemic, we were quite active,” underscored Maserati Philippines Assistant General Manager Natalia Bryzgalova in an exclusive interview with “Velocity.” She continued, “Even when other brands were hesitant to hold events, we still tried to reach out to our clients — and not let them forget about us. We still had some get-togethers — of course, following restrictions and we tried to keep people as safe as possible; big open areas, outdoors.”

In tandem, the brand was evolving its marketing strategy. Shared Maserati Philippines Assistant Marketing Manager Bea Tamonan to this writer, “For the longest time, we’ve been heavy with on-ground activities — particularly because of the culture of the luxury market in the Philippines. But Maserati has been transitioning into digital. We’re trying to capture a market we can’t reach if we solely rely on onsite activation.”

She added, “Lately, we’ve been trying programmatic buy-ins — geo-targeting kind of ads and lead-generation forms. We’re also doing more dynamic content online — more collaborations through videos and not just usual lendout articles. We’re trying to improve the customer journey when you visit the website as well.”

And with the recent addition of the MC20 supercar in the local portfolio, you can very well say that Maserati is adopting a three-pronged (hello, trident) strategy to further its visibility. “I’m really very proud of the whole team for that. We’ve been ‘Maserati-ly’ audacious,” added Ms. Bryzgalova with a smile. Toward the end of next year, Maserati Philippines is also set to open shop along EDSA’s famed automotive row. “We’ll be moving to a new house — a 3S (sales, service, and spare parts) facility adhering to Maserati corporate standards. It will allow us to serve our customers better. We’ll have more time, more touchpoints with clients.”

That new establishment, continued the executive, will be embodying the “new direction, style, and DNA of Maserati” when it comes to showrooms. “I don’t want to give spoilers, but from what I know, there is still no showroom in the world that is 100% compliant with those new standards. It will be something very surprising, a very unconventional car showroom.”

Maserati Philippines has also been cashing in on the SUV craze that crosses all price points. Its Levante SUV, whose hybrid version was brought in earlier in the year, has enjoyed “steady demand,” revealed Ms. Bryzgalova. “I don’t think that it’s a secret to anyone, but the volume driver has been the Levante SUV… the hybrid variant has also helped us bring down the price of entry into Maserati… Hybrids will enable us to tap a new market.”

Speaking of hybrids, the executive divulged to “Velocity” that the company is looking to bring in its new compact luxury SUV, the Grecale, by the first quarter of next year (as early as January, if everything works out). This will effectively become the entry point for the premium Italian car maker — with its hybrid variant expected to get all the fiscal and non-fiscal relief due it.

The MC20 and Grecale are definitely part of the messaging of the brand. “We’re targeting a younger market, obviously. This is a new design of Maserati and the direction it’s going to have toward cleaner lines, more appealing to a wider audience. It’s also one of the ways to reach out to more people,” she said.

While the Grecale will sit on one end, the MC20 (or Maserati Corse 2020, a nod to the brand’s return to racing) is considered the halo car of the brand. The two-seater is the first vehicle equipped with Maserati’s Nattuno engine, said to be “a ground-breaking, patented 630hp V6 engine with the new MTC (Maserati Twin Combustion) technology. Nettuno was conceived, developed, designed and built entirely by Maserati, and uses a pre-chamber combustion technology derived from Formula 1 engines.” It can speed from a standstill to 100kph in an incredible 2.88 seconds — on the way to a top rate of 326kph.

As of press time, three units have been spoken for in the Philippines. Consider that, aside from its steep acquisition price, only six examples of the exotic-looking MC20 are hand-assembled each day. That makes it a true halo car, indeed — an indispensable part of enhancing the Maserati stock and image in the Philippines.