NEW YORK -- Although it is moving more slowly than expected, Maserati plans to increase its U.S. dealership count to 125 as it prepares to launch the Levante full-size crossover.
Christian Gobber, CEO of Maserati North America, said the brand has begun adding points from the 100 it had last year, bringing its current count to 107 stores. The Levante is due in U.S. dealerships late in the second quarter of 2016, Gobber said in an interview at the auto show here.
Maserati has been working on adding dealerships since last year. At last fall's Paris auto show, global brand chief Harald Wester said he wanted to have 120 U.S. stores by Jan. 1.
Dealership growth is part of Wester's drive to increase global Maserati sales to 75,000 by 2018. Maserati sold about 36,500 cars last year, with 12,943 coming from the U.S., its biggest market.
Gobber said that adding the Levante would double the potential customer base from that of the current brand lineup.
"That will open a completely different segment," he said. "What we are doing is we are taking this beautiful, powerful, strong brand, and we are making it play into different segments, taking the brand to its full potential."
Maserati already has increased sales with the Ghibli sedan, which, at a base price of $71,050, including shipping, is considerably less expensive than the Quattroporte and GranTurismo sports coupe.
Maserati also has said it will add the Alfieri sports coupe and an Alfieri convertible.