The Maserati production cycle: final assembly
The Bodywork Area is, in a way, the most evocative part of Maserati’s entire assembly process. It is here that the cars take on their final form and where the elegant bodywork is united with the powerful engine. Taking a stroll around its 26 stations, you can see for yourself the process where what seemingly starts as just a collection of parts is slowly transformed into a seductive car.
The Bodywork Area was opened in March 1998 after undergoing an extensive refit. This work rendered the production line one of the most advanced in the world amongst low-volume manufacturers. Some 140 metres long, 130 people work along its length in eight-hour shifts. The main production line is where Quattroportes and GranTurismos are born. The department that looks after pre-assembly (including complete doors, removed when the chassis arrives, fitted out and then remounted at the final station) is next to it.
Capacity currently stands at over 20 cars per day. The time spent at any one station is 28 minutes, far longer than the mere seconds at more mass-market factories, allowing the team of craftsmen and women the time to carefully work. In total it takes about two days to assemble each vehicle.
From the moment when the chassis appears on the line, each car is tracked step by step. Various parts are mounted, from the engine to the interior, and all the necessary tests are carried out to ensure that everything fits as it should. An ‘owner-supplier’ policy is adopted in order to ensure top-class quality, a system that gives each person who works at a given station the responsibility for handing over a perfect car to the next person along the line. This speeds up the process and allows high quality standards to be attained.
Each car is tracked by a trolley that contains all the parts to be used for that particular car. They contain both standard items and options chosen by the owner through the Officine Alfieri Maserati personalisation program.
Other components, including the seats and other interior finishes are supplied according to ‘just in time’ logic to the appropriate station. The different stages of production are noted in a ledger that accompanies the car and that is later archived as a guarantee of the quality of the production process.
At the end of the production line, each car undergoes a rigorous check to ensure that the overall standards, inside and out, are as high as possible. After making sure there are no leaks in a rain infiltration test, the car is tested and callibrated on a rolling dyno. From there specially trained test drivers take each car on a series of motorways, hilly stretches and the city streets around Modena. After a final ‘finishing’ stage in the specially equipped zone the car is then ready to be shipped to the dealership for its new owner.