Maserati in Australia & New Zealand
The early years of Maserati in Australia were dominated by its presence in motorsport with the Italian legend’s road cars entering the country as personal imports for enthusiasts.
Leading those motorsport appearances was in the 1957 Australian Grand Prix, in which Stirling Moss guided home his 250F to victory. Two years later in 1959 it was the turn of Stan Jones and the following year Alec Mildren took the top step of the podium in a Maserati powered Cooper. Stan Jones also used the 250F to take the Australian Drivers’ Championship in 1958 and in 1960 Alec Mildren took the title with a Cooper T51 Maserati.
Along with Alec Mildren, another legendary driver who used Maserati as a stepping stone in their career was Bob Jane, who drove a Maserati 300S in a range of sports car events before going on to win four Bathurst races in a row, a feat no other driver has achieved.
In New Zealand, the man who was arguably the country’s first great racing driver, Thomas Pitt Cholmondeley-Tapper, raced a Maserati 8CM in the 1930s. Chris Amon was one of many drivers who used the legendary Maserati 250F as part of their career and in 1966 he drove a Maserati-powered Cooper T81 in the Formula One Championship.
During the 1970s and early 1980s the importation of Maserati road cars into Australia was handled by a number of representatives in different states. In 1987 the importation of Maserati cars was formalised and a national organisation based in Sydney was established. With changes of ownership of Maserati in Europe, coming first under Fiat control and then joining Ferrari within the Fiat Group, Maserati joined the Australian Ferrari importer, Maranello Concessionaires, part of the Sutton Group.
In 2004 Neville Crichton made a compelling case for his company to assume control of the Maserati business with a new company, European Automotive Imports (EAI), specifically created to handle Maserati. On 1 October 2005 the distribution of Maserati, along with Ferrari, transferred to EAI.
Neville Crichton started his automotive career in New Zealand, before moving to Hawaii to run the distribution of a wide range of cars, including Ferrari, as well as retail operations. He returned to Australia in 1985 and took over Ateco Automotive Pty Ltd, which presently holds the Australian and New Zealand distribution rights for Alfa Romeo, Fiat and Citroën as well as Maserati and Ferrari.
In addition to his automotive business, Neville Crichton was a skilled racing driver in the 1970s and 1980s, competing in Australia, New Zealand and across Europe, but he is best known for his sailing achievements. He is one of the world’s most successful blue water yachtsmen with, literally, hundreds of line honours wins to his name and these include such classics as the Rolex Sydney to Hobart and the Rolex Fastnet amongst his career wins.
Having secured the Maserati franchise, Neville Crichton set about revitalising the growth of Maserati, targeting two key areas, sales and customer service. Following the appointment of Edward Butler as General Manager of Maserati Australia and New Zealand, significant changes were made to the dealer group. In Brisbane, Euromarque provided Maserati with a state-of-the-art new dealership and this was joined by Zagame Maserati’s new dealership in Melbourne’s Swan Street in 2008, and a new home for Maserati was opened by Barbagallo Sport in the same year.
In 2010 Maserati will move to a brand new ultra-modern facility in Sydney - Ferrari Maserati Sydney, which will combine sales and aftersales all under the one roof. Facilities in Adelaide and Auckland have been substantially improved and Maserati formally arrived in the south island of New Zealand with its first dealership in Christchurch.
At the same time a concerted marketing and customer contact programme has consistently driven sales to new levels in every year that Maserati has held the franchise, from just 80 cars in 2005 to 201 cars in 2008. This level of growth is unsurpassed in the local luxury vehicle market and at its heart has been the outstanding quality and appeal of the cars. With continuous stunning new additions to the lineup, Maserati will ensure that the growth continues.