Fiat shows off its business connections

Date: Tuesday, July 01, 2014   |   Author: James Dallas

Fiat Professional filled its stand at the Commercial Vehicle Show with liveried vans to showcase its partnerships with blue chip companies.

“We are not simply selling vans, said UK boss Sebastiano Fedrigo, “we are working with partners to provide transport solutions.”

As an example he drew attention to an uprated front axle Fiat developed for BT Openreach on the LWB Doblo Maxi light van, which is now a £50 option on the range.

Fedrigo described Fiat Professional as a “standalone brand” differing from some competitors in that it can call upon its own engineers and designers to find bespoke solutions for customers.

Also displayed was a Ducato Tipper converted with VFS for the construction firm FM Conway, a Doblo Work-up dropside from Balfour Beatty a Scudo LWB in National Grid livery and a Royal Mail Doblo XL.

The Royal Mail has taken 1800 such vans and Fedrigo claimed the derivative was designed specifically for the postal market. He explained that while postal firms used to deliver mostly letters, which required vans with high payloads, the emergence of email and social media had shrunk this market to the extent that the demand now is for parcel deliveries – calling for vans, such as the XL, with high load volumes (5.0m3).

Another initiative Fedrigo highlighted is the hard-wearing fortex-covered seats Fiat has installed in its postal vans to withstand the wear and tear inflicted by postal workers frequently getting in and out while making deliveries.

Fiat Professional also debuted its new flagship Sportivo trim level, displayed on Fiorino and Ducato vans at the NEC, which became available across the range immediately after the Show.

The models are identified by side-stripes, alloy wheels and painted bumpers and feature uprated engines to appeal to customers looking for a bit more performance. Compared to the Tecnico trim, Sportivo models do not have start/stop or sat nav, which Fiat claimed most customers using the vans privately as well as for work would have anyway.

The Fiorino Sportivo is priced from £9695 and gets the range-topping 1.3 95hp Multijet 11 engine. The Doblo Sportivo 1.6 105 comes in at £10,695, while the £13,195 Scudo Sportivo 2.0 130 MultiJet gains 40hp compared to the equivalent Scudo Tecnico 1.6 90 MultiJet.

The Ducato Sportivo range starts at £14,995 for the short-wheelbase 2.3 150 MultiJet II, a 20hp boost over the Ducato Tecnico 2.3 130. All of these models have a £700 price premium over Tecnico versions. Prices exclude VAT.

A notable absentee from the Fiat stand was the new Ducato, which goes on sale this summer. Fedrigo claimed the van’s success in Germany, where it is second behind Mercedes’ Sprinter in its sector, meant it would make its show debut in Hanover in September.



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