IWD special: Maserati flies high with female heritage
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As part of a series of stories marking International Women's Day (IWD), we're taking a look at the link between high-flying females and Maserati. But to get started, we have to head for the water.
Cruise specialist Kyria Warren started getting calls from potential clients about America's Cup hospitality events more than two years ago. There were enough of them (or rather, clients of sufficient quality) to prompt her to launch a new company, Luxury LAS, creating experiences by Land Air and Sea (LAS) for high-end clients in and around the Cup. And it's grown to the point where it will now continue beyond the Cup, of course.
Chauffeur services and luxury car rental are part of the LAS world, with a number of premium brands and vehicle genres represented. But Warren's personal choice from the Luxury LAS fleet is the Maserati Levante SUV.
"I looked at several vehicles, including a convertible - but it just didn't fit the golf clubs! I was shopping with my sons and they pointed out the Levante: it's sexy, it's Italian... it's got a Ferrari engine and that unmistakable Maserati sound we’ve nicknamed “The Growler“.”
Customers like Warren are more plentiful than you might think in New Zealand. Female buyers make up 27 per cent of sales at Winger Maserati in Auckland. Of those, 60 per cent choose the Levante SUV over the brand's more traditional sedans and coupes.
David Wyatt, marketing director at Winger Maserati, echoes the thoughts of many in the motor industry about the rise in popularity of high-end vehicles during Covid-19: "Over the past year we've seen an increase in luxury car sales, especially SUV models like the Levante. We've seen clients unable to leave NZ for holidays who instead want to travel this beautiful country in style and with enough room for the family, bags or just their golf kit in the back."
IWD dates back a long time: it was instituted in 1911. Maserati's connection with female enthusiasts goes back a long time, too. The first-ever woman to drive in Formula 1 piloted a Maserati: Maria Teresa De Fillipis.
She was born in 1926 and began racing a Fiat Topolino at the age of 22. She had huge talent and determination: an accident that robbed her of hearing in her left ear stalled her career, but three years after her return to the track in 1955, she made her F1 debut at the wheel of her own Maserati 250F.
Her career was short and she never scored an F1 point, but she is regarded as a pioneer in the sport. She left F1 in 1959 and it would be 15 years before another woman competed at the same level.
She quit motorsport for two decades, but returned to join the International Club of Former F1 Grand Prix Drivers, becoming vice president in 1997. She was also a founding member of the Maserati Club in 2004 and served as its chairperson. De Filippis passed away in 2016, at the age of 89.