Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the third largest US carmaker and the seventh biggest automaker in the world is trimming production at Maserati, its Italian luxury division, after the high demand spearheaded by the introduction of the entry-level Ghibli sedan is now fading.
According to a statement issued Wednseday by the Italian Fismic union, during the first week of next month the Maserati facility in Grugliasco in northern Italy will suspend the manufacturing of the $70,600 Ghibli and the $99,900 Quattroporte. Around 2,000 employees working at the facility will be sent into temporary furloughs, just like it happened in September. Fiat Chrysler has been adamant about expanding the Maserati brand – in a bid to recoup losses that would come after Ferrari, the top luxury brand in the group, would be allowed to become independent. Chief executive officer Sergio Marchionne has decided to follow up the 2013 launch of the more affordable Ghibli sedan with the Levante sport utility vehicle, set for a launch next year. The Italian-American carmaker is also mulling the addition of yet another sports car model to prop the lineup.
The brand has decided to use the production break to further transform the assembly lines for upcoming production and last month the brand’s boss, Harald Wester, said the 13 percent slide in worldwide sales comes from weaker performance in once booming markets – such as China – with Maserati’s operating profit dropping 30 percent to 43 million euros during the second quarter of the year. “We aren’t worried about the future,” also commented Vincenzo Aragona, national secretary for Fismic. “Maserati’s investment in Grugliasco is one of the most positive events in the Turin area in the last 10 years,” the official added, as the company aims to market the Maserati and Alfa Romeo brands as the Italian luxury automotive options for worldwide customers.
Via Automotive News Europe