The Fast Lane to Luxury

A top choice for luxury performance connoisseurs with the desire to travel in style

It’s a great irony that arguably one of Maserti’s strongest defining elements—the car’s drive—is something hidden by necessity while the Italian vehicles rest in a showroom like the one at PetroVietnam Vietnam. Welcome to Trident Auto, Saigon’s Maserati dealership.

Resting at the base of the tower complex, this glassed-in auto showroom houses just a handful of Maserati car models, including the Quattroporte mid-sized sedan and the Levante SUV. The car mostly likely to grab your attention is the gleaming white Ghibli sportscar sitting next to the reception desk. The car opens to all leather: chairs, head liner, armrests, dash, everything. One trying out the experience, playing as a prospective Maserati owner, would naturally sit in the leather front seat and rest their hands on the wheel. You’d need a test drive to get a sense of the longstanding reverie drivers have for Maseratis. The Ghibli is described as a car with quick, taut and responsive handling by auto enthusiasts.

Language of a promised good time will have to suffice unless you’re enterprising enough to take the car from the showroom it rests in, a home fitting for a legacy Italian car brand. The showroom contains imported, Italianmade decor vetted directly by Maserati. Hand-selected furniture from brands such as Poltrona Frau grace the floor like standing guards of the palace. The showroom is usually quiet, however, and usually sees clients by appointment only, a company representative explained.

So, who’s buying Maseratis in Vietnam? The company representative explained that the buyers tend to middleaged business persons who’ve been sufficiently successful in their careers to put a down payment on a luxury Italian car. A previous generation of successful, Saigon-residing business persons may have been more drawn to a Mercedes or a Lexus. The representative said these models have seen their star fade with a new generation of buyers with higher buying power.

The equanimous noun “businesspersons” is used here deliberately. Maserati buyers are evenly distributed between the two genders, the representative said. There have been around 100 Maseratis sold from this showroom. The Ghibli may occupy the showroom’s forward area and have the most visibility of the group, but the spokesperson said Saigonese tend to prefer the Levante. The SUV makes up about 80 percent of the vehicles sold from the showroom. Why? At least one of those reasons should be obvious: the country’s precipitous rainy season makes drivers drawn to something with a bit of a higher ride to move safely over the city’s soaked streets. The vehicle’s generous seating room also makes it an attractive pick for those with families
or just a lot of friends.

Vietnam’s streets could see a lot more of these vehicles on the road in the future, but we’re talking far off future. The European Union and Vietnam have passed a trade agreement that eliminated taxes on a lot of big ticket items, like wine, some food and European-made automobiles, like the Maserati. However, the agreement does not immediately reduce the taxes on all the vehicles to zero, instead favoring a seven-year long gradual elimination. It’ll be a while yet before the showroom moves its next hundred cars, but it might not take three years this time.

Images By Vy Lam

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