NEW YORK - Maserati is planning to move its North American headquarters from New Jersey to the former Walter P. Chrysler Museum in Auburn Hills this year so it can be closer to its parent company, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
Maserati became affiliated with Chrysler when Fiat acquired a controlling stake in the Auburn Hills automaker in 2009. Despite that affiliation, the Italian luxury brand has operated separately in North America from Chrysler.
Tom Shanley, head of Maserati North America, said the brand will continue to operate separately from the parent company but decided it was time to be physically closer.
"The idea is to bring us into Auburn Hills while remaining distinct and separate from the other FCA brands," Shanley told the Free Press while attending the New York International Auto Show. "We have our separate office space. We will be sharing that office space with Alfa Romeo."
The decision gives metro Detroit another hometown luxury automotive brand two years after General Motors' Cadillac brand moved from Detroit to New York City.
Maserati's global headquarters is in Modena, Italy, and will remain there. The company also has regional headquarters in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and Shanghai, China.
Shanley declined to say how many people will be making the move but made it clear that only a few positions would remain in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.
"We will have limited operations from the technical side of our business" in New Jersey, Shanley said.
The decision to make the move was announced to Maserati's U.S. dealers on Tuesday. News of the move was first reported by Automotive News based on unnamed sources.
Fiat Chrysler said in November that it would permanently close the 55,000-square-foot Walter P. Chrysler Museum and convert it into office space.
"That is the office space that we are renovating right now," Shanley said.
A spokeswoman for Fiat Chrysler declined to comment.
Fiat Chrysler said in November it planned to preserve its historical vehicles and will showcase them at internal and external events, including displays around the Chrysler Technology Center and other company facilities in the U.S.
The museum opened in 1999. It was closed to the public for financial reasons since the end of 2012 with the exception of private events, but reopened to the public last year until it closed in December.
Maserati is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fiat Chrysler. Fiat Chrysler became a fully integrated company in January 2014 after Fiat acquired shares previously owned by a retiree health care trust affiliated with the UAW.
In January, FCA began reporting Maserati monthly sales in the U.S. along with the sales of Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram, Fiat and Alfa Romeo vehicles.
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