Maserati will shift production of the Quattroporte sedan from its current base at Modena to an old Bertone facility acquired by Fiat two years ago.
"When Quattroporte production ends at the end of this year, that will switch to the ex-Bertone factory, and obviously all production of the new Quattroporte will be at that factory," explained Edward Rowe, the Public Relations Manager for the brand in Australia. "And that factory will also produce the new medium sedan."
The next generation Quattroporte has been recently spotted testing in the open and the medium sedan to which Rowe refers will be a direct competitor to the BMW 5 Series and the Mercedes E-Class.
Maserati has basically outgrown the Modena plant, which will continue to build the GranTurismo (pictured) and GranCabrio ranges. In addition — and once the Quattroporte production has moved to the new plant in Grugliasco, west of Turin — Modena will begin production of the Alfa Romeo 4C, which is expected to require capacity of around 2500 units a year.
According to the press material issued by Maserati, it's all in line with boosting the company's production output to meet an annual target of 50,000 units a year by 2015. But Edward Rowe says the expansion into the new plant, known as Officine Automobilistiche Grugliasco, is also a reflection of the economic woes in Europe at present.
"It's very hard to production-plan at the moment, because the demand is not only sliding, it's doing it in great jumps and hiccups," Rowe told motoring.com.au this morning. Running down Quattroporte production in one location prior to ramping it up in another leaves Maserati in a slightly vexed situation where staffing levels are concerned, but the company has been keeping government and trade union officials informed of its plans. Current employees will apparently be offered relocation to Grugliasco and restructuring will be managed through the Italian government's temporary layoff benefit schemes.
Maserati cannot expand the Modena facility to cope with the added demands of building the Quattroporte and the new, smaller sedan, since the plant is located within the city limits. This was principally what prompted the decision to relocate Quattroporte production to Grugliasco. The ex-Bertone plant will have €500 million invested to bring it up to the necessary standard. The company confirmed earlier in the year that the Kubang SUV will be built on a Jeep production line in the US.
Rowe says that the new Quattroporte will arrive in Australia near the end of 2013. There's no specific launch date in Australia for the mid-sized sedan or the Kubang, but the global debut for both will take place in 2014.