Fiat to add a second shift to its Maserati plant starting April 29

Article by Anita Panait, on April 19, 2013

Fiat Group has informed its unions that a second shift will be added at its Turin site in Italy starting April 29, 2013, a source privy to the carmaker disclosed. Workers at the Turin plant will work on a second model, the Ghibli sedan, which will be shown at the Shanghai auto show on April 20, 2013. The site currently builds the Maserati Quattroporte sedan, and will commence production of a third model, the Levante sports utility vehicle, in 2014.

Fiat Group is eyeing to increase the sales of its Maserati luxury marque by offering a bigger model lineup, as a vital part of its strategy to offset declining sales in Europe. The carmaker posted EUR738 million ($963 million) in losses in Europe in 2012, which further made the future of its plants and workers bleaker.

Fiat is investing EUR1.2 billion in Maserati, which includes revamping the Turin site for Maserati and its sibling brand, Alfa Romeo. Fiat chief executive Sergio Marchionne is counting on Maserati and Alfa premium brands to help make its loss-making European operations profitable once again by 2015-2016, seeking to emulate the global sales success of luxury marques like BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz.

Marchionne hopes that Maserati and Alfa will help spark a production rise at its under-utilized plants in Europe, particularly those in Italy. Marchionne plans to increase Maserati's annual sales to over 50,000 by 2015 from just around 6,000 in 2012.

The original 1963 Quattroporte was considered as the first four-door to fuse speed and luxury, and that established Maserati as a master of sports saloon design. Now, the Maserati Quattroporte features a design that makes use of a powerful engine and a large cabin while its front is marked by a long remarkable nose and short overhang.

Marco Tencone, Head of Maserati Centro Stile, remarked that the design of the Quattroporte takes inspiration from the brand’s core stylistic principles: dynamic lines, harmony of proportions and Italian elegance. He added that for Maserati – a brand with a strong heritage – it is essential to inject the most distinctive features as a signature. These features include the strong triangular C pillar with the logo; the contour of the front air intake; and the three small outlets on the front wings.

Tencone remarked that the new Quattroporte features a simple and clear design, as accentuated by a character line running on the side. This line helps define the strong volume of the rear wing while lending the Quattroporte a muscular look. He added that the cabin of the new Quattroporte is sleek, featuring three windows and frameless doors.

Tencone described the new Quattroporte as a high performance sports saloon with a light, sensual design embodying the remarkable styling cues of Maserati as reinterpreted in a contemporary language.

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