Maserati to expand dealer network to 500 by mid-2016

MUNICH, June 26 Thu Jun 26, 2014 12:36pm EDT

MUNICH, June 26 (Reuters) - Maserati plans to raise its number of dealers to around 500 by mid-2016 from more than 400 expected by the end of this year, to keep up with fast-growing demand for its luxury sedans, the brand's CEO Harald Wester said on Thursday.

The carmaker has a goal to grow sales to 50,000 by next year from 15,400 in 2013, as it pushes the premium brand's Italian allure and sporting heritage to compete with the likes of BMW and Volkswagen's Audi and Porsche.

The expansion of the dealer network will come at no cost to Maserati, part of Italian-American auto group Fiat Chrysler , Wester said on the sidelines of an event in Munich.

"These are all private companies that will invest their own money," he said.

The revival of the Maserati brand represents a key element of Fiat Chrysler's efforts to boost profitability, alongside the relaunch of the sporty Alfa Romeo marque. The group aims to move back into the black in Europe, which is only slowly recovering from a six-year slump in sales.

In the first six months of this year, Maserati, whose lineup includes the two-door Quattroporte coupe and the lower-priced Ghibli, expects to sell as many cars as it did in the whole of 2013, Wester said last week. (Reporting by Irene Preisinger; Writing by Agnieszka Flak; Editing by David Holmes)

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