Something’s Afoot In China: Young Rich Woman Are Buying Maseratis

Wolf Richter's picture

Wolf Richter

Money-losing Italian supercar maker Maserati, a subsidiary of money-losing Italian run-of-the-mill automaker Fiat, has some challenges. It sold 6,288 cars worldwide in 2012, down 30% from its all-time record in 2008 of 9,000 cars. In order to become profitable, and help its parent become profitable, it wants to force-jump those sales to 50,000 by 2015. Multiplying sales by a factor of eight in three years, just to become profitable? I wonder who did the math.

But it’s not entirely pie in the sky. The number of orders nearly tripled during its year ended July, from the number of units sold in the prior year, though manufacturing bottlenecks have limited actual dealer sales so far.

“The numbers show that the United States is still our largest market globally, but that China has taken the lead for certain models such as the Quattroporte,” Maserati brand chief executive Harald Wester told Reuters in August.

But the company faces a couple of problems in China.

One is the perception that Italian high-end cars are less reliable than their German competitors – a perception Maserati had to fight, Christian Gobber, managing director of Maserati Greater China, told The Wall Street Journal.

Another is crummy service. Maserati doesn’t have much of a service operation in China, and its parts distribution center in Shanghai is run by a third party. “It’s a headache for owners of Maserati; even in Beijing there are few places that provide maintenance service,” explained Michael Ye, a real-estate professional. He liked the Quattroporte’s “fashionable and dynamic design,” but dreading the aftermarket service, he ended up buying a Porsche Cayenne. 

Maserati isn’t blind to the problem. The company is looking into beefing up its parts and service operations as more Maseratis roll over the curb. Eventually customers might see service levels “more in line” with German high-end automakers, but as of yet, Gobber said, a new parts distribution center was still in the “study phase.”

And then there is Chinese President Xi Jinping’s crackdown on lavish spending by government officials as part of a larger crackdown on corruption that he wove into his plan late 2012. He meant business. Sales of supercars, which had soared since the Financial Crisis, suddenly dropped late last year, and have continued to drop, including those of Ferrari and Lamborghini. Corrupt officials simply can no longer afford to show off the fruits of their corruption [read.... Supercars In The US, Japan, and China: How QE And Corruption Boosted Sales].

But Maserati sales in China are booming. The number of dealerships is expected to reach 40 by the end of the first quarter and 60 by the end of 2014. For the first 10 months, the company delivered 2,000 cars, with another 1,000 cars to be delivered by the end of this year, Mr. Gobber said. That’s up from about 900 for the entire year 2012.

China, with 4,938 total orders for the first nine months – the company is having trouble building them – is still Maserati’s second largest market, behind the US, for now, but orders for its hottest model, the Quattroporte, reached 3,956 in China, the most anywhere in the world.

But who the heck are these eager buyers, now that corrupt officials have to think twice before splurging on them?

In the US and Europe, 95% of the buyers are male. The average age is 55. Turns out, the cliché is actually a reality: wealthy guy, going through midlife crisis, ends up buying a supercar, perhaps at the spur of the moment, now that he can afford it.

But not in China. There, the average buyer is 37 years old – and 40% are “very successful young businesswomen who love European craftsmanship and want to be chauffeured in their new Quattroportes,” Maserati CEO Harald Wester told Automotive News Europe.

As is the case with rich Chinese men, these young women don’t want to fight it out themselves in the endless traffic jams. Forget the screeching tires as the light turns green, the heel-and-toe downshift ahead of a turn with no visibility, the sheer thrill of a four-wheel drift through that turn, the rush that comes from blasting out of the turn, V-8 screaming near the red line, the rush of having escaped near-certain death merely by your infinitely honed driving skills and the noble piece of machinery that you paid such a fortune to obtain. They’d rather sit in the back and be chauffeured around.

And those Quattroportes cost a lot of moolah in China where the government slaps on hefty import duties and confiscatory luxury taxes. Entry-level econo-models with a V-6 engine start at the equivalent of $277,000, according to Automotive News Europe. Fully equipped V-8 models retail for about $440,000.

How is Maserati’s Quattroporte different from the models Ferrari and Lamborghini offer? They have to rely on corrupt officials to make their numbers, and when corrupt officials fail to materialize, sales drop. The entry-level Quattroporte is priced below the corruption limit of 2 million yuan, and that may help. But why does it appeal to young rich Chinese women? Maybe it’s the way it looks, maybe it’s the sound of the name in Chinese, or maybe it’s just young rich Chinese women who think they’re going to change the world.

BYD, the name of a Chinese electric vehicle maker, stands for “Build Your Dream.” Maybe that’s what they’re trying to do in China. But here, they’re building a nightmare: broken promises, falsehoods, design flaws... funded by American taxpayers. And they paid Chinese workers in California $1.50 per hour to do it. Read..... American Boondoggle Meets Chinese Methods

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shovelhead's picture

My daughters best friend is Korean and even she laughs about 'Driving While Asian'. She claims it's a genetic feature of Asians that when they get confused (which is always when driving) they just stop. Period. No matter where or when.

Need to turn right or left? Stopped dead in the middle lane...

Mirrors are used to check makeup only and are too confusing to use while driving, so a quick prayer to Buddha precedes a lane change.

Parking is a major event and parallel parking needs 3 spaces to accomplish.

She had me howling with laughter because I lived in O.C. So. Cal. for years, which is US Asian Central and have seen this for myself.

She thinks it's just a bad idea to put people who are used to driving water buffalos behind the wheel of a car and sending them off in public.

carlin401's picture

There is a shortage of women in China.

THere is a bigger shortage of beautiful young women.

Given that, its no surprise that every beautiful young chinese woman is 'rich', or at least can be rich, if she chooses a rich 'suitor'.

slingshot's picture

Chinese don't screw around when building stuff  plans for new aircraft carrier

Jumbotron's picture


Wango Tango.....Ted Nugent.

Mitzibitzi's picture

I've actually driven a Quattraporte. Sadly I was only delivering it, at £8/hr plus (Take your pick, pleb!; Subway or McDonalds) lunch allowance... and had to wear a fucking Tyvek suit and gloves, so I didn't leave my DNA on the interior. Wtf???) and, baby, are they cool to drive. Fast enough, handle pretty well, nice interior fit and finish. Rocking stereo!

But as has been commented above, there is a certain... vibration... to the ride. I can see why chicks dig them.

Best delivery drive I ever had was a Mercedes CLK-430AMG with full leather and all the options. Now THAT is a man's car! No stupid paper suit required, either, just an instruction not to exceed 130mph as the gearbox wasn't fully broken in. I swear I never passed 129, even though it was a 2AM nightime drive to the drop-off point. Well, not for more than a minute or so... you have to find out, don't ya!


willwork4food's picture

130 MPH?? German Autoban? Damn, your english is excellent!

kareninca's picture

This fits with what I see, in re young Chinese women.  The are smart, hardworking, UNBELIEVABLY ambitious, and UNBELIEVABLY materialistic.  (Makes me laugh when American women are accused of being materialistic.)  When they marry American guys, they are the boss; they actually choose guys they can boss around.  Imagine all of those millenia of thwarted ambition, finally released  -  at least in the West women had some few outlets for ambition and earning and creativeness.

Chinese women may take over the world.  One I knew (about my age, late 40s now) really loathed me because of my privileged American upbringing; she lived through the Cultural Revolution, cleaning latrines as a kid, going hungry.  She married an American guy, whom she now sees/treats as a pathetic POS; she's the boss; she has become a really powerful corporate lawyer in the U.S.; he's a disgusting little appendage to her life, from her perspective.  She will argue about anything:  at one point 20 years ago I made a small remark re the difficult position of Chinese women, and she raged, telling me how wonderfully Chinese women were being treated; I'm afraid that I replied, "yeah, well, maybe the ones who aren't aborted or left to starve in the street"  That didn't please her.

So, Chinese men have no-one to marry (they are required to come up with a house as a bridal gift, and anyway there's the dead-baby-girls factor), and are looking to e.g. Vietnam.  But the Vietnamese abort their baby girls, too.

If we're lucky, these amazing young Chinese women will become too immersed in their decadent consumerism to take over.  They don't seem to want to have many kids; that's for sure.  Can't tell if they abort their girls, but all the ones I know have boys.

Freddie's picture

Is this somewhat an Asian thing?  Tyler(s) posted the weird video about sex, marriage and relationships in Japan.  It is really effed up.  The Japanese are fairly materialistic but the women are not as ambitous but the materialism has effed up any fairly normal marriage or sexual relationships.

Europe also has a very low borth rate like Japan but I think it has more to do with economic insecurity in Europe. 

Poor American hubby in your story.  What a simp.


Seer's picture

My wife is Filipino.  Not materialistic.  Extremely smart.  Ambitious?  Depends on one's definition: she's multi-lingual; has resided in several countries; has citizenship in two and is a resident in a third; was in banking (I got her out- I did say that she was smart).  She grew up poor and understands what matters in life.  I suspect that one has to walk a mile in another's moccasins to get the right understanding.

Westerners are too eager to apply western-thinking to everything: this ends up great fodder for rascists (who perform useful-idiot work for the masters).

kareninca's picture

Japanese women are not materialistic.  It just looks that way, because they have no options.  They're not permitted to work at real jobs (virtually no feminism in Japan; just look at photos of Japanese politicians and businessmen:  all men), and they can't marry someone who will support them:  Japan's been in a depression for 20 years.  Japan is a uniquely sick society.  I would rail against the sexism there, which is huge and real, but things are beyond terrible for Japanese men, too.

Japan is corrupt beyond our imagination; the Fukishima clean-up is being done by the Japanese mob with unwilling untouchable-class labor (they have an untouchable class; not the indiginous people:  it is a caste that is genetically identical to the regular Japanese, but they have been keeping geneologies for hundreds of years to avoid marrying them); they literally let people starve to death who don't comply with welfare regs (google "rice ball man Japan" for the heartbreaking death-journal of a guy who starved to death because he didn't comply with social worker regs).  Their longevity and the crime rates are bogus (lots of murders listed as suicides; old dead people not reported so that their pension can be collected).

Every individual Japanese person I have known has been a fine human being  -  and terrified.  It is like a whole population, is being kept imprisoned by a sick ruling class.

ZH posters often say they want to go to some poor Asian country to find a bride who will appreciate their earning prowess.  That is not the way to go; anyone who marries you for money will soon find someone who earns more than you do.  They should go to Japan or Korea (which has its own problems), and find a woman who hopes to get the hell out of a bad situation for non-economic reasons.

Oh, and I'm not really criticizing the Chinese women I know for their ambitious materialism.  If I grew up hungry and cleaning latrines, and knowing that all around me my fellow females were being aborted, I might want to get a pile of my own money, and control it.  I'd be damned mad, too.  I'm lucky to be a spoiled American who has the luxury to not care about "stuff."

Lebensphilosoph's picture

So you contrast materialism with female careerism? Are you an idiot?

Lmo Mutton's picture

Bitch better park that maseratis and make daddy a sammich.

nemesis2012's picture


Yenbot's picture

Watch all the MacLarens pass yo sad ass...

mofreedom's picture

and promptly got into an accident, right off the showroom floor, cause people like me can't drive.

SmittyinLA's picture

with women its all about vibration, that particular model is known as having the most orgasmic vibrations for women, they actually did a scientific study.

Still not as good as an old hog for getting a bitch wet. 


Things that go bump's picture

Why do you think young girls are so fond of horses?

Hulk's picture

I just want a working lawnmower...

WillyGroper's picture

Something's abreast.

Sufiy's picture

And their husbands all deposits they can put their hands on now:

Copper M&A: Teck, Newmont, Blackstone in joint Las Bambas bid 

Reuters reports about the building up some competition to Las Bambas Copper Chinese bidding war. The best Copper assets can now be found on stock exchanges and in the project portfolios. This demand will filter through to the more early stage projects soon like Los Azules copper and Taca Taca in Argentina. Recent developments in Argentina indicate further sign of economic normalisation after the elections.

The Heart's picture

Anyone stupid enough to sign up for this commi-scam-care, deserves all it will do to them for the rest of their life.:

Hongcha's picture

ManWithaPlan, I down-arrowed only b/c I disagree.  China's masses wait patiently to be told what to do next.  They are not aroused until their oligarchs take too much away; which they have not done yet.  if the oligarchs are cautious their game can go on for a long, long time.  Much longer than any of us can conceive other than intellectually.  

China will dominate for the rest of our lives.  And America is finished.

11b40's picture

So, is that why the rich and powerful in China are busy getting as much of their wealth OUT of China as fast as they can?

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

doesn't look like it. They diversify to Africa, to Canada, around the world but their money returns there if they do.

Save_America1st's picture

rich, Maserati-drivin' Chinese pussy, bitchez!!!

nah...I'll pass...sorry...nothing personal...well kinda...just not really my style...what can I say...I loves me some tall, hot, American bitchez ;-) (and they ARE seriously bitchez, too, lol)...hmmm...well...on second thought...maybe hot, rich, Maserati-driven Chinese pussy might not be that bad after all! LOL

TheGardener's picture

Maserati is popular in Poland and Switzerland as a way to avoid a proper Porsche out of anti-German sentiment.

But there must be more to that story : In Poland I saw
attractive milfy businesswoman driving Maserati just as described !

But of course driving a me-too sports car is bad style,
funny how they are now called super cars even though they
cost about as much as raising a child...

TheGardener's picture

Well, spared you the bad news : In Switzerland the Maserati
drivers were metrosexual banker types with or without red shoes ... :-(

maskone909's picture

would like to add that they lose 1/3 value as soon as you buy it.  me? i own a 300whp 92 civic hatchback.  i enjoy the look on the faces of porcsche drivers as i pass them with ease.

TheGardener's picture

I hear you. Got the NSX Ferrari killer as soon as
it came out. Turned out to kill Porsche`s too.

Cheap manga style I know, but loved it and the co-driving
yakuza bitch.

Freddie's picture

What you talking bout Willis?!

NSX is a nice car but it is a bit underpowered unless I am wrong.  I heard it eats tires too. True?

TheGardener's picture

Hi Freddie, this is a dead thread I know but maybe you check back on your comments like I just did.

Yes, even though it came out 22 years ago it was underpowered not only by today's standards. 160 mph to 180 mph sounds impressive but you would clock that coming out of a bend !

Then straight ahead you would wish to have double the horsepower to do the 220 mph the chassis was designed for.

Tires ? Burn a complete set on a hot weekend just trying to take out your chick to various posh restaurants where she did not like the menu, the hospitality witch or the please wait to be seated sign.

The yokohama tire it came with was formula one stuff, to be discarded after a few rounds, but it was worth it if you tried to do a lot faster in real traffic as they would in the races...

Seer's picture

I like Formula One cars, but if not those then off-roaders, like this:

I think that's 2.0L with 850hp: 425hp per litre!

ronaldawg's picture

Ur both rice-burning mini-car BITCHEZ - They didn't have any Amerikan cars available for you?

Jendrzejczyk's picture

I gotta 3500 Chevy diesel van, Bitchez.

Wanna go for a joy ride?


(need a couple days notice to clean off the passenger seat)


Edit: We can honk at all my Asian neighbor ladies that can't even drive their Camrys over 30 mph.

Seer's picture

Is it 4-wheel drive?  That would be awesome!  Every once in a while I see one running around my area.

I've got an F250 IDI 4x4.  Driving it I can see real well all the new killer diesel trucks ($60k+ variety) scream out of sight.  And as time goes along I can drive past all those trucks as they sit in for repairs: I can work on mine AND afford parts.  And while it's great for hauling stuff (feed etc) I'd much prefer driving my tractor.  There ain't no substitute for diesel.

Jendrzejczyk's picture

Sadly, no 4x4. If there's even the slightest hint of slick road, it turns into a toboggan.

maskone909's picture

there is just something special about a hot asian broad in a supercar. 

edifice's picture

Something's afoot, alright... Every 500 years or so, wealth and power shift from East to West, and back again.  Currently, the shift is from West to East.  After the transition, Asia will be the dominant region for the next 500 years.

Seer's picture

Ever consider that this cycle is part of a super cycle that has an end?

I think this is another paper-tiger thing.  But even if not, there's a glacial period that's part of a pretty well established geologic cycle headed our way...  Maserati might consider thinking outside the box, perhaps doing Maserati snowmobiles...

ManWithaPlan's picture

Errr..I am pretty sure the west has held the wealth and power for the last 2000 years... I wish people would get off this China is going to take over the world meme. You really think a communist country that pays the majority of it's workers a dollar a day is going to take over the world? To me I see revolution and collapse.

Freddie's picture

You really think a communist country that pays the majority of it's workers a dollar a day is going to take over the world?

Well Wal Mart greeters make a bit more in Obam-Amerika aka USSA but the USSA is more communist. They are both kleptocracies.

To me I see revolution and collapse.

Bring it.

new game's picture

what you are missing is the arey out manuvering the western oligarchs.

blunt: out foxing the rothchildern...

the people are just pawns, peeps or sheeple easily lead in whatever debt scheme you give em - they take the debt and i owe off to your debt slave plant, service center or gold mine...

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

idiot. 2000  years ago the "west" was First Nations American Indians. They had wealth in nature & knowledge of living in it but not power over others.

in the founding of white-america post-genocide a worker wouldn't get even a dollar a week. They made it.

Lebensphilosoph's picture

Actually, 2000 years ago the West was the Roman Empire, "idiot".

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

actually, fucktard, the west doesn't move based on where the PEOPLE are who made the most noise in that era. The west is North America, no matter what, for the last 2000 years.

mjcOH1's picture

"idiot. 2000 years ago the "west" was First Nations American Indians.. They had wealth in nature & knowledge of living in it but not power over others."

And then came the evil white man, with knowledge of iron smelting, gunpowder, transoceanic travel, and the germ theory of medecine. Not that any of that should be construed in any way as knowledge of nature.