Typically, when a premium automaker adds a new SUV to its lineup it sees a significant sales uptick. But apparently that isn’t the case with Maserati. The Italian brand will extend production shutdowns in Italy this holiday season as it tries to unload current inventory, reports Automotive News Europe. The decision comes amid slowing sales in China.
Although Maserati is keeping quiet on the matter, union sources are reporting a number of long shutdowns. Maserati’s Grugliasco plant in Italy has been shut down for a four-week period starting December 15. This factory, which makes the Ghibli and Quattroporte, was closed for just three weeks last year. At the Mirafiori plant, which builds the Levante SUV, production will stop from December 20 through January 15, although last year it shut down for just one day beyond required holidays and weekends. The Modena plant will stop making Granturismo and Grancabrio models until January 8.
“It is clear that production is slowing down and investment in new models are on hold,” Federico Bellono, head of the union for the Turin area that includes the Grugliasco and Mirafiori plants, told Automotive News Europe.
New regulations that affect the relationship between dealers and automakers have hurt sales in China. In October, Maserati delivered 750 Levantes to China, a decrease of 67 percent from 2016, according to JATO Dynamics. Sales in the U.S. fell 15 percent in October and November, and 4 percent in the EU.
New products could help Maserati increase its sales. A second SUV is expected to arrive by 2020. Slotting under the Levante, it is expected to share the same platform as the Alfa Romeo Stelvio. At this point, plans for the Alfieri sports car remain unclear.