In order to reduce stock, Maserati had to stop making new cars temporarily.
Maserati hasn’t been having a great year. The brand has been dealing with recalls and reliability problems and there have even been rumors that FCA could sell Maserati along with Alfa Romeo. All of these issues have clearly effected sales, because Maserati was forcing its dealerships to mark cars in their inventory as sold, in order to make it seem like the brand had higher sales numbers. This tactic clearly did not help, because Maserati has just announced an extended production shut down in order to clear out inventory.
Automotive News Europe reports that Maserati will shut down its Grugliasco and Mirafiori factories in Italy until mid-January. The Grugliasco plant, which builds the Ghibli and Quattroporte sedans, will reopen on January 15, after what will be a four-week shutdown. Last year, this same factory was forced to shut down for three weeks over the Christmas and New Year holiday period. Production of the Levante will be stopped for a slightly shorter period, from December 20 to January 15. This plant only shut down for one day last year. The Modena plant, which builds the GranTurismo and GranCabrio, will resume production on January 8.
FCA declined to comment on the shutdowns. Federico Bellono, head of the FIOM union for the Turin area said that “It is clear that production is slowing down and investment in new models are on hold.” Maserati sales have been slowing down in China, and with no new models on the way, we don’t see this trend changing any time soon. The replacement for the GranTurismo has been repeatedly delayed, which is systematic of the Maserati brand not having proper funding for development. FIOM predicts that Maserati will produce 43,000 cars this year, which is a slight increase over 2016.
Maserati is not on track to finish the year strong, with estimates predicting that production will fall by 25 percent year-on-year to 12,217 cars in the fourth quarter of 2017. Even the Levante SUV, which is the brand’s most popular new model, will have a production decrease of 44 percent. FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne had a business plan for Maserati in 2018 to sell 75,000 units with three new models. Unfortunately, none of these models seem like they will arrive on time, which may put Maserati’s 2018 plans into question.