KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) – Have you seen a luxury car driving around East Tennessee and thought who’s behind the wheel? Where do you buy a car like that here? And how many can the dealer sell?
The answer may surprise you.
A Maserati dealership opened in Knoxville last year and they are having no trouble staying afloat.
Imported from Italy, Maserati cars have a reputation.
“Everything is handmade, so you have that very high quality natural drilled leather,” explained, Shannon Harper, vice-president of Harper Maserati in Knoxville. “Maserati means style, it means power, it means a beautiful sounding car.”
Maserati wanted to open up a dealer in East Tennessee, so they chose Harper.
“We were really shocked by the reception. There are a lot more Maserati owners in the East Tennessee area than people expect.”
Harper says the demand was already here. Before they opened, Maserati sold 30 to 40 cars in East Tennessee every year, which brings up the question — who’s buying them?
“We have engineers from Oak Ridge that have been coming and buying these cars, to doctors and lawyers and businessmen. It’s a wide assortment of people,” Harper explained.
He says most buyers are between 50 to 70 years old, but they’ve sold to people in their 30s.
He says that’s because they’re not as expensive many people think.
While the top model, the Granturismo, hits north of $130,000, the lower model starts at 70 grand, comparable with other luxury cars.
“There’s also been a lot of people coming from Mercedes and BMW and Lexus that have very excited about owning a Maserati and getting that unique experience.”
And part of that experience is how it hits the open road.
While it may not sound like much, only selling about one car every week and a half, Harper says that’s all they need.
“Not everyone has a Maserati in their driveway. And Maserati keeps their production limited, they don’t want everybody to be driving a Maserati. It is for a select group of people.”
Harper is the only dealer selling Maserati’s in East Tennessee. The next place closest is in Nashville.