The Maserati production cycle: bodyshell production
The construction of the "body" in white, as the bodyshell is known, is one of most important processes in the car’s construction. This is the reason why Maserati entrusts this task to a specialised company with years of experience. Maserati selects its partner carefully to help produce top quality cars. As a direct result, Quattroporte and GranTurismo bodyshells are made by ITCA in Turin.
ITCA receives chassis' from Golden Car in Cuneo and starts the welding process. The monocoque for both models is in sheet steel that has been electrically coated in zinc on both sides to protect it against rusting. Since the end of September 2007, in another move aimed at improving quality, the monocoques have been made from sheet steel bi-coated in zinc to provide even greater rust resistance.
Maserati has opted for a single piece roof with the C-pillar welded to the rear quarter while other manufacturers usually have the spot welds on the roof. Spot welding comes from the union of two electrodes that complete an electric circuit, combined with extreme pressure exerted on the steel. This fuses the steel without having to use other materials. Maserati’s method results in a stiffer and more robust chassis. CO2 type soldering is used everywhere on the car apart from the A and C-pillar, where copper is employed.
Bodyshell production takes place on two assembly jig lines, one for welding and one for quality control. The assembly jigs are tools used for positioning parts of the bodywork (roof frame, front framework, rear crossbar) and the outer layer (for example, front and rear bumpers and roof panel) and have either manual or automatic closures (clamps that hold the sections still). The assembly jig lines have three jigs each. It is here that the outer layer, the roof panel and the C-pillars are welded.
The doors, bonnet and boot are mounted on the welding production line. The chassis' are checked against pre-established gauges placed at the windscreen, rear window and wing mirror mounting points. Over on the quality control line, bodywork examinations are carried out to check for any air pockets or imperfections. The welding is checked against established quality standards and the whole car against the Initial Customer Perception (ICP) index. Maserati’s main aim is to produce flawless cars and so many stringent checks are made during production. In the last step the bodies are cleaned on the quality control line to remove metallic residue before being sent to Ferrari's facility in Maranello for the paint finish.
Maserati was the first company in the world, through ITCA, to equip itself with a robot for seaming the bonnet and doors. The seaming robots are welding robots that have been modified and work on two specific sections, the bonnet and doors, replacing the clamps (that contain electrodes when welding) with steel rollers. This minimises errors and provides better shape and geometry of the parts.