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From Tradition to Out of the Ordinary

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Tags: Heritage, Motorsport
Maserati is committed to having the most modern production facilities and outstanding working conditions. We wanted to know, how these requirements are implemented.
Janine Vogler, March 26, 2019
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Janine Vogler Vintage cars related to ZF-products have been at the heart of the journalist. Outside of work, she enjoys to ride motor bike or to be accompanied in nature by her dog.
Those who want to tour the production halls in Modena are first guided through the impressive showroom designed by the industrial architect Ron Arad. On an imposing ten-ton honeycomb structure made of carbon and glass fibers, a large blue hoop, reminiscent of a race track, rises into the air. The main part of it is mounted on a base that nobly bears a perfectly restored 6CM. The entire work of art is painted with the traditional Maserati colors of blue and red and is intended to mainly remind visitors of the glorious victories in Indianapolis.

Maserati is committed to having the most modern production facilities and outstanding working conditions. In the first four years after the takeover, Ferrari management invested extensively in new factories and production lines in Modena. Ferrari itself would not get a facelift until ten years later. The car bodies are built in Turin and from there sent to Ferrari in Maranello to be painted and also to have the engines installed. Around 500 employees work at the headquarters in Modena. In the production hall there, twelve assembly stations join the driveline and car body and also install and fine-tune the mechanical components. Neatly lined up to the side are the ZF automatic transmissions, waiting patiently for the "marriage": the moment when the car body and the driveline are put together. Every screw is perfectly turned, with the computer controlling the torque in Newton meters. This 100-percent control allows no room for errors. All workstations offer optimal ergonomic conditions with the most modern 90° rotation capability. There is practically no over-the-head work, which means employees have the car in front of them and their hands.
Under the trident: The corporate symbol derives from the mythology.

The interior of the vehicle is subsequently fitted out on another twelve stations. The assembly lines are operated during one 8-hour day shifts only, five days a week. A total of 20 units of the Gran Turismo and Gran Cabrio models are produced here daily, with an Alfa 4CA squeezed in now and then. All cars are pre-ordered and each one is assembled according to the customer's request. If you look at all the possible combinations, there is a total of over 40 million (!) accessory and equipment variations. The different models are purposefully lined up one after the other, this guarantees greater employee interest in the work. Nevertheless, on average, an employee will stay at one workstation for a maximum of seven months, then switch. A team manager is responsible for four stations and remains on one line for eight to ten years.

After assembly, each car is tested at 160 km/h on the roller test bench to ensure the ABS, brakes, transmission and clutch are in good working order. Then it must be subjected to the water test at 3,000 liters per minute. And that’s not all. Each car is then checked by being test driven 40-50 kilometers in the city, on the highway or on the race track. “During the test drive, each car must be able to reach 288 km/h. The test driver must feel the car,” explains the former head of sales Giorgio Manicardi with pride: “Lastly, the car goes to the final fine-tuning area where employees spend three hours treating it and eliminating even the smallest quirks and defects. We have the best “beauty farm” in the world and only women perform this last quality control step!”
And if that is not enough, the car is checked one last time by an external company that then bears the final responsibility.

“The test driver must feel the car ...” - Giorgio Manicardi

While only 20 cars are assembled in Modena daily, at the Avvocato Giovanni Agnelli Plant in Grugliasco, 130 cars – the Ghibli and Quattroporte models – are produced per day. This new highly modern Maserati production facility in Turin officially started operations at the beginning of 2013. Advanced world class manufacturing methods and the strictest quality controls were put into place right from the start. The second production location besides the headquarters in Modena became necessary in order to be able to implement the Maserati model initiative and to maintain the company’s growth course. The third production location, the Mirafiori plant, is producing the first ever Maserati SUV, the Levante. The findings and processes gained in Grugliasco were applied to the new production line. In the meantime, the percentage share of automatic transmissions supplied worldwide is 90 percent while manual transmissions have fallen to just ten percent, with most of the demand coming from Italy and Germany. If looking at just the European market, the ratio of automatic to manual transmissions is 70:30. The Fiat Chrysler Group intends to turn the traditional manufacturer into an electric brand.

The marketing department at Maserati selected the following as their brand slogan: “The Absolute Opposite of Ordinary.” The painful desire to hear its engine or thought processes paralyzed during engine start-up often occur when in contact with a Maserati. The idea that we could be cured of these classic Maserati-induced discomforts in the future does not exactly bring spontaneous joy. But it does make one curious because after all, many innovations will certainly be possible in the future under the sign of the trident.
Hopefully it will be a future that includes ZF; and also hopefully a future that is the absolute opposite of ordinary.
Please find the complete article and even more as download here.
Emblem: Radiator grill of Maserati Gran Turismo.

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