TURIN - Bruno Cena, the Fiat engineering executive given credit for the Alfa Romeo 156's highly praised handling characteristics, has been named general manager of Italian specialist car designer and manufacturer Carrozzeria Bertone.
Meanwhile, Ferrari has named another Fiat Auto veteran, Marcello Pochettino, managing director of Maserati.
Cena, originally an aeronautical engineer, started at Fiat in 1970 and rose to become head of road testing. As D-platform director, he led development of the Alfa Romeo 156, Lancia Lybra and the Alfa Romeo 147, the forthcoming 145/146 replacement.
Cena tuned the much-praised handling on the 156 and also planned production. Fiat insiders say that Cena was so instrumental in creating the 156's unique road manners that only he could be trusted to preserve those characteristics when the car went into production.
Most recently, Cena was in charge of Fiat's engine operations.
At Bertone, Cena replaces Renato Ghigo, who has retired from the company after 37 years of service. Paolo Caccamo remains Bertone's president and managing director.
Bertone expects this year to build more than 30,000 units of the Opel/Vauxhall Astra Coupe and 20,000 BMW C1 motorcycles, plus a final lot of Fiat Punto cabriolets. Last year Bertone built just 12,000 units.
With the addition of the cabriolet version of the Astra in 2001, Bertone will eventually build 40,000-45,000 cars a year for Opel/Vauxhall.
Pochettino, a former head of Fiat Auto Ireland and managing director of Fiat Auto Espana, will report directly to Ferrari President and Managing Director Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, and will be the highest-ranking executive at Maserati.
Since Ferrari completed its takeover of Maserati in July 1999, Ferrari directors have performed all company functions.
Ferrari plans for Maserati to sell 2,000 units this year, 6,000 units by 2005 and 10,000 units by the end of the decade.