ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J. -- Maserati ended 2005, its fourth year back in the United States, on track to sell about 2,100 cars in North America, says its new North American president.
James Selwa, 55, who became president of Maserati North America in July, says Maserati has found a niche where few players compete: the $100,000 sedan.
With its $106,850 Quattroporte sedan leading the charge, Maserati sales grew sharply in 2005. In 2004, the Italian maker sold 1,144 cars in North America.
The year-old Quattroporte was expected to account for about 1,500 North America units in 2005 -- about 60 percent of Maserati's anticipated total. The sport sedan debuted in the 2004 Neiman Marcus Christmas online catalog and sold out in 36 seconds.
Maserati also sells the less-expensive Coupe and Spyder models, which were launched in 2002.
Selwa tested his formula when he headed marketing at Land Rover and Rolls-Royce Motors Cars N.A.: increasing marketing, targeting only buyers who can afford the cars and fine-tuning the product to the United States.
This year Maserati will increase the number of variants it sells from four to eight. These include adding two trim levels to the Quattroporte, basing the U.S. Spyder on the upscale Gransport Coupe rather the base Coupe model, and bringing in a stripped Coupe.
Selwa's long-term mission is to relaunch Alfa Romeo with a new vehicle in the United States.