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Buying a new car? Make sure you ask this question

Domenico Cosentino -  Head of Aftersales - Maserati

Buying a vehicle is one of the biggest financial commitments you will ever make. It makes sense then that before you take the plunge, you do your homework on the options available. But, according to Domenico Cosentino from Maserati SA, there is one crucial question that is often overlooked.

“The number one question that can help alleviate a lot of new vehicle owners’ headaches down the line is ‘What support will I have the moment I drive out the dealership?’ Or, put differently, ‘What aftersales support will I get if I buy this vehicle?’” says Domenico Cosentino, head of Maserati South Africa Aftersales.

He explains that aftersales is often times hardly a priority for buyers who are in the throes of purchasing a new vehicle, yet, it plays a vital role in the owner’s purchasing journey.

“Buying a new vehicle is a very exciting time and the thought of what happens once you have the car can easily be forgotten. But, would you buy a car knowing that the aftersales support was poor? I wouldn’t,” he says.

Domenico adds that aftersales involves everything from servicing and parts, to breakdowns and value-added benefits.

“If your vehicle breaks down, will the dealership send support? Or, if your vehicle needs a special part, how long it will take until it arrives? Do you know, on average, how quickly it takes the workshop to service a vehicle? If your salesperson is unable to answer these questions adequately upfront, it could be a sign that if something were to happen to your vehicle down the line, you may be in trouble.”

He says that unfortunately the age-old perception of ‘being taken for a ride’ by a workshop is exacerbated by poor aftersales support.

“This remains at the forefront of people’s minds when they need their vehicles repaired. Ironically, if these type of questions were asked upfront before signing on the dotted line, it would help put buyers on the front foot, and give them confidence that they will be looked after,” explains Domenico.

The top questions Domenico recommends consumers ask their sales manager when buying a new car is how active is the aftersales team in terms of volume of servicing and lead time, and what type of experience the aftersales team has.

“A rushed job is often accompanied by a poor quality repair. Similarly, an inexperienced sales team may over promise and under deliver; while a good sales team will do the opposite.”

He says that customers most want efficiency and accurate, timeous communication when it comes to aftersales. “With proactive and clear communication, everything simply falls into place.”

And does Maserati live up to its brand promise of being the absolute opposite of ordinary when it comes to aftersales?

“We strive to offer a world-class service that is smooth, effortless and based on a relationship with our clients. We try to turn the mundane hassle of having to take your car for a service into an exciting experience, starting by offering our clients service levels that would not be expected.”

He elaborates that the personal touch is in everything the team does; this could range from a small gesture that they wouldn’t expect, to an experience and service that many have forgotten.

Validating this is the fact that Maserati SA was recently voted the top Aftersales Team in the Maserati Middle East, Africa and India region by its customers.

“Our Maserati Concierge service is a roadside assistance service offered to every Maserati owner in the country irrespective of their vehicle’s age or mileage.  The norm is for cover to only apply while the warranty is active. This means that the Maserati 3200GT from 1999, or the 1970’s Merak SS, as examples, are covered. If it was made by Maserati and it is in South Africa, you have the Maserati Concierge team at your service… And it’s free,” explains Domenico.

Maserati recently announced a five-year warranty and service package upgrade on all vehicles sold – an extension from the original three-year warranty. Maserati warranty is extendable up to seven years.

“The point our vehicles leave the many showrooms across the region is not the point where Maserati experience ends – in fact – it is the very opposite,” concludes Domenico.

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