GRUGLIASCO, Italy – Fiat SpA has renamed its Maserati plant here in the outskirts of Turin after company patriarch Giovanni "Gianni" Agnelli.
The Italian industrialist and controlling Fiat shareholder served as the company's chairman from 1966 to 1996. He passed away a decade ago this month at age 81.
Current Fiat Chairman John Elkann, who is Agnelli's grandson, said that the company and his family wanted a way to honor Gianni's strong link to the Turin area. The new name of the complex is Officine Maserati Grugliasco, Giovanni Agnelli Plant.
"This plant has been shut for six years and now has returned to life," Elkann said Wednesday during the plant's official opening. Grugliasco began building Maserati's new Quattroporte flagship sedan this month. A smaller model, called the Ghibli, will follow this summer.
Fiat bought the plant in 2009 from Carrozzeria Bertone because the firm's struggling contract manufacturing business no longer had any work. From 1960 until production stopped in 2006, Bertone made models ranging from the Lamborghini Miura to the Volkswagen Polo at the plant.
"We spent more than 1 billion euros to totally refurbish this plant and to boost Maserati's global sales to 50,000 units by 2015 from just over 6,000 last year," Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said.
He said the Grugliasco plant has a capacity of 200 units a day on three shifts, equivalent to about 45,000 units a year, but the output could be doubled if needed.
Factory boss Luigi Galante said that he expects this year's output to be about 20,000 vehicles. He added that the new line can handle up to four different products.