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Maserati partners with Alibaba's Tmall to offer SUVs tailored to Chinese market

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV-owned Italian luxury car brand Maserati SpA expanded its collaboration with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s online shopping platform Tmall to offer 88 of its Levante Trofeo SUVs to Chinese customers.

The Maserati cars will be limited edition, China-only SUVs, with features tailored specifically to the tastes of the country's high-end car buyers. They will be available on Tmall when they arrive from Italy starting in 2019, according to a Dec. 13 post from Alibaba's news site Alizila.

The product launch comes after Maserati's partnership with Tmall Innovation Center, or TMIC, to study the preferences of Chinese online customers. A number of other global brands have collaborated with TMIC in order to increase their understanding of the market and to offer products tailored to the world's second-largest consumer market. The collaboration allowed Maserati to provide a customized product to customers, the release said.

The innovation center found that Chinese customers, unlike their Western counterparts, like yellow and red as they are seen as auspicious, and as such, the two colors, as well as 22-inch tires, will be made available to consumers, only through Tmall.

In March, Tmall and Maserati teamed up to transform two auto dealerships in China into smart stores, integrating online and offline retail.

In the same month, Maserati reported that their sales in China in 2017 had reached a record high of 14,498 units, up 18% year over year. Maserati noted that the Chinese market comprised roughly 30% of its total global sales that year, the release said.