ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J. -- James Selwa, 55, took over as president of Maserati North America in July. Previously, he held marketing positions for Land Rover and Rolls-Royce. He talked to Staff Reporter Diana T. Kurylko in December.
How is selling a Maserati different from selling a Rolls-Royce?
You're both targeting a luxury buyer. It's pretty much the same once you get into looking at what the market size happens to be. The first cut is you have to have the money -- it's no different for anything over $100,000. Once you have taken the discipline to say these people have $30 million or $25 million when you're looking at a Rolls-Royce or $10 million or $15 million when you have a Maserati, the treatment has to be the same. They want an exceptional experience and an exceptional car.
Are you cross-shopped much with Bentley and BMW?
Funny, but in a unique showroom we built in Dallas with Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Maserati, a lot of people look at the Bentley. Once you roll up the Bentley pricing (with options), you edge $200,000. The easier way to get into that family is to get into a $120,000 car. They get a lot of their sales from BMW or Mercedes-Benz. From $70,000, it's a stretch to get to $200,000 -- it's a hard thing to sell sometimes.
When will Alfa Romeo come to the United States?
I have no idea at the moment. Ask the commanders. Frankly, I don't think they have enough good feedback on their new car. When you bring a car here in that price category, it has to be bulletproof.
Will Alfas be sold through Maserati dealers?
That is what they say, but it's not always the case. You have to look at it dealer-by-dealer and his capacity and ability to invest.
If you're coming as soon as three to five years, you have to start the search for dealers.
We have already. We brought dealers to look at Alfas at Pebble Beach (Calif.). They liked what they saw. We had a private showing.
You may e-mail Diana T. Kurylko at [email protected]