11 September 2012

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Fiat Professional at the Hanover International Motor Show 2012

  • Doblò Cargo XL, world preview

  • Doblò Work Up: the first "Original Equipment Manufacturer" light truck

  • Natural Power: the most eco-friendly range on the market

  • The joy of travel: the Panorama versions of Ducato and Scudo

  • Ducato and Strada in all-terrain versions for professional use

  • Ducato DHL: simple, safe transport

  • eco:Drive Fiat Professional

The 64th edition of the Hanover International Motor Show, the most important commercial and industrial vehicle show in Europe, is scheduled from 18 to 27 September. The event will bring professionals and major manufacturers in the sector to the German city. These will include Fiat Group Automobiles, with the Fiat Professional brand. This has always played a prominent role in the sale of light commercial vehicles in the German market as the leading import brand.

Fiat Professional is exhibiting 10 vehicles at the show. These represent the widest LCV range currently present on the market - from car-derived vans to the Strada, the Fiorino, the Doblò Cargo, the Scudo and the Ducato Maxi - as well as the most eco-friendly: no fewer than 4 models are marketed with a methane fuel system as original equipment. The German show is therefore the perfect opportunity to discover both future innovations and the models that have completely revitalised the Fiat Professional range: an array of products that have always interpreted customers' needs by updating themselves in line with their expectations.

The key player in the exhibition area is the new Doblò Cargo XL, another specialty from the Doblò family, which, with more than 500 variants, combining bodies, doors and engine versions, boasts the widest range in the segment. The new "XL" version offers similar dimensions to those of the Cargo Maxi version, permitting easier access to the load compartment, thanks to a height of 1455 mm for the rear door and of 1550 mm for the load compartment. Moreover, thanks to the rear bi-link suspension, the vehicle can confidently handle considerable maximum permitted axle loads: 1,200 kg on the front and 1,450 kg on the rear. Despite demonstrating values typical of higher segments - including a volume of 5 m3 (5.4 m3 with passenger seat folded down) - the new Doblò Cargo XL proves a vehicle which takes reducing fuel consumption and environmental sustainability to heart.

An example of the Doblò Work Up will also be present at the German show, the first light truck in the segment built entirely by the manufacturer to guarantee quality and reliability. With a load surface of 4 m2, a load capacity of 1,000 kg and thanks to the practical movement of the sides and a host of practical features (tool compartment, retaining hooks, load pole rack/ladder structure, footboard, etc.), the Doblò Work Up is the ideal solution for the agriculture, building and civil or park maintenance service sectors, as well as the transport of doors, windows, shutters and glass.

Both of the versions on show confirm the winning qualities of the Doblò Cargo model, the first and only vehicle in its category to make a decisive break with the car-derived production model. This vehicle was conceived from the design stage as a commercial vehicle in every sense, not simply a small van but a genuine LCV that can be adapted to all working missions and different types of outfit.

A pioneer for more than 15 years, Fiat Professional now offers the widest range of commercial vehicles factory-fitted to run on methane (OEM), allowing it to hold a leading position in this market. At Hanover, Fiat Professional is presenting the three most important vehicles in the Natural Power range: Ducato, Fiorino and Doblò Cargo with petrol/methane dual-fuel system.

The Scudo and Ducato models boast a complete range of people transport vehicles, based on different outfits intended for specific uses and customers, including after-market conversions for individual and collective transport for those with reduced motor abilities. To represent the vast range, the show will feature a Scudo Panorama Executive 165 MultiJet - the ideal solution for business customer transport (hotel / airport shuttle, vehicle rental with driver) - and a modular Ducato Flex-Floor (9 seats).

Fiat Professional is presenting two particular versions of the Ducato and Strada models which lend themselves, both in terms of style and content, to outdoor, professional use in which agility, versatility, load capacity and ability to tackle adverse terrain conditions count. On show in Germany will be the Fiat Ducato 150 MultiJet with "Traction+", the innovative system which improves traction on difficult terrain with poor grip. By its side the Fiat "Strada by Lumberjack", created in collaboration between Fiat Professional and Lumberjack, legendary footwear and outdoor clothing brand, on the basis of shared key values including practicality, quality and robustness.

Finally, there will be an example of the Ducato DHL, converted by the well-known German body builder Sommer, to represent the countless conversion opportunities for Fiat Professional vehicles, from mobile workshops to vehicles with various bodies and from insulated vehicles to those with cold storage. This sector is experiencing continuous growth: suffice it to say that in Europe today, one vehicle out of three undergoes conversion.

Marked out by the typical yellow colours of DHL, the vehicle is based on the Ducato (Long Wheelbase and super-high roof) and has many features developed exclusively to optimise courier services and safety. For example, the distance that the courier must travel on foot is minimised to reduce strain and the risk of accidents: to deliver a package, the driver no longer needs to get out of the cab but, thanks to a panelled partition with sliding door more than 1.8 metres tall, can pass directly to the vehicle's load compartment, to take the items required.

Fiat Professional's commitment, always targeted at the true needs of its professional customers, has now achieved a step forward in emission reduction with its new eco:Drive for commercial vehicles. This device, the only one of its kind, allows the journey data of vehicles at work to be analysed in order to suggest more appropriate behaviour for economical and sustainable driving. Visitors at Hanover can admire eco:Drive Professional, the version of the software specially designed for commercial vehicles which includes typical variables for this category: from the load carried to the various front ends, should the vehicle be a conversion. An "eco:Drive mobile" version is also available, the smartphone app that allows driving and efficiency data to be displayed directly on a mobile with no need for a PC (in the case of a Fleet Manager, data can be transmitted from the smartphone to the Fleet Portal, again without requiring a PC).

Doblò Cargo XL, world preview

The new Doblò XL makes its début at the Hanover Motor Show. This is another specialty from the Doblò family which, with more than 500 variants, combining bodies, doors and engine versions, boasts the widest range in the segment, in addition to superior performance and functional characteristics, load capacity and loading efficiency, good fuel economy and low consumption with limited running costs, all teamed with safety and comfort.

The new "XL" version, with a volume of 5 m3 (5.4 m3 with passenger seat folded down) and a capacity of 1000 kg, features values typical of higher segments, yet with reducing fuel consumption and environmental sustainability always close to its heart. The New Doblò XL offers similar dimensions to those of the Cargo Maxi version, permitting easier access to the load compartment, thanks to a height of 1455 mm for the rear door and of 1550 mm for the load compartment. The vehicle, thanks to the rear bi-link suspension, can confidently handle considerable maximum permitted axle loads: 1,200 kg on the front and 1,450 kg on the rear.

The engine range of the New Doblò XL comprises three turbodiesels - 1.6 MultiJet 105 HP, 1.6 MultiJet 90 HP MTA and 2.0 MultiJet 135 HP - for the Cargo versions, while the Combi versions are characterised by the 2.0 MultiJet 135 HP engine version. The engine range is completed by the petrol-fuelled 1.4 TJet 120 HP, again for Cargo versions. All Euro 5 type-approved, the diesel engines are marked out by satisfying driving, excellent performance, quiet running, low running costs (consumption and maintenance) as well as reliability and environmental sustainability, also thanks to the availability of the Start&Stop system and the particulate filter.

In the field of safety, the New Doblò XL admits no competition. To ensure optimum dynamic behaviour, comfort and active safety in all road surface and load conditions, the vehicle has been equipped with innovative mechanical features, in particular a bi-link rear suspension system. The constant and predictable road-holding is also ensured by the adoption of the most advanced electronic stability control devices as standard, including ABS with electronic brakeforce distributor (EBD). The front airbags and front side bags, which protect both head and chest, complete the safety equipment, while a host of unobtrusive smart solutions transform the cab into a genuine mobile office, such as the shelf under the roof, the dashboard document holder and many practical storage compartments, in addition to the large compartment above the cab which can be accessed directly from the load compartment. The vehicle also offers technical solutions and technological equipment that create optimum comfort conditions and help keep attention on the road: these include a climate control system, also available in an automatic version, cruise control, rear parking sensors, built-in Blue&Me hands-free system, Blue&Me TomTom navigator and the innovative eco:Drive Fleet Professional system.

Doblò Work Up: the first "Original Equipment Manufacturer" light truck

Next to the Doblò XL, visitors can also admire the Doblò Work Up, the first light truck in the segment built entirely by the manufacturer to guarantee quality and reliability.

Reinventing the concept of "small truck", the brand presents a vehicle with a one-of-a-kind design for its type, which enters a segment which is unexplored territory for a major manufacturer: a new "truck" version with very limited external dimensions which facilitate urban use, even in narrow, difficult spaces, such as alleys and vehicle passageways. At the same time, the Doblò Work Up has box dimensions which mean business: 2.30 m long,1.82 m wide and 4 m2 of load surface. The vehicle has a capacity of up to 1000 kg, made possible by brand-new rear bi-link suspensions that ensure considerable maximum permitted axle loads: 1,120 kg on the front and 1,450 kg on the rear.

To ensure load performance, sturdiness, lightness and lower fuel consumption, a box has been adopted with a high-strength steel frame, slip-resistant plywood floor and light aluminium alloy sides. A useful compartment is provided beneath the floor to stow work tools and instruments, even long and bulky ones, in complete safety and protected from the elements. There is also a small, practical footboard on each side of the vehicle, permitting easy access to the inside of the box. This is equipped with a pole rack/ladder structure, load retaining hooks and a sturdy grille to protect the cab and rear window: all features that make the Doblò Work Up the ideal solution for the agriculture, building and civil or park maintenance service sectors, as well as the transport of doors, windows, shutters and glass. To give an example, 3 Europallets or 33 crates of fruit can be loaded with ease. Very competitively priced: Doblò Work Up costs up to 7000 euros less than a similar higher segment vehicle with essentially the same transport capacity.

The engine range of the Doblò Work Up comprises three turbodiesels: the 1.3 MultiJet 90 HP, 1.6 MultiJet 105 HP and 2.0 MultiJet 135 HP. All engines are marked by great driving satisfaction, excellent performance, quiet running, low running costs (consumption and maintenance) in addition to reliability and environmental sustainability. The Start&Stop system and particulate filter as standard.

Again as series, the Doblò Work Up offers front airbags, ABS complete with EBD and rear bi-link suspension, while automatic climate control, cruise control, Blue&Me system and "Blue&Me TomTom" navigator are available on request.

Natural Power: the most eco-friendly range on the market

Fiat Professional offers the widest range of commercial vehicles factory-fitted to run on Methane (OEM) comprising the following models: Punto Van 1.4 Fire 70 HP, Doblò Cargo 1.4 Fire T-Jet 120 HP, Fiorino 1.4 Fire 70 HP and Ducato 3.0 F1C 16v 140 HP.

All of Fiat Professional's Natural Power models offer dual-fuel engines (methane and petrol): normally, they run on methane, with petrol operation only on starting (with the exception of the new Ducato, which uses the petrol tank only in "recovery" mode) followed by immediate, automatic switching to the other system. The engine only switches to petrol if the gas in the cylinders is about to run out. It is nevertheless always possible to switch from methane to petrol and back again as desired, by pressing a button on the dashboard. Naturally, the location and capacity of the methane tank are different on each model.

The Fiat Professional Natural Power range confirms the brand's commitment to the field of environmental protection and sustainable mobility. Methane power systems are currently the most appropriate technological choice to help limit pollution in urban areas and they are also a very advantageous purchasing choice. Starting from a strictly environmental viewpoint, methane is the cleanest fuel currently available and makes it possible to drive in areas of towns with traffic restrictions. Unlike diesel vehicles, methane-driven vehicles do not discharge particulate and nitrogen oxide emissions are less than approximately 90%. Compared to petrol systems, methane power units guarantee an approximately 50% reduction in nitrogen oxides, nearly 75% in unburnt hydrocarbons and 23% in CO2, thus contributing to a reduction in the greenhouse effect.

The choice of methane is also an effective alternative to conventional fuels from a financial viewpoint, as it guarantees extremely low costs per kilometre. Another important factor that contributed to the development of natural gas is safety. According to the EPA (the US Environmental Protection Agency) standard, methane is one of the safest fuels, second only to diesel. It is not a toxic gas and presents a low risk of fire: because it is less dense than air, it tends to become volatile in the event of accidental leaks and to rise, without building up to hazardous concentrations. For this reason, vehicles equipped with these fuel systems are allowed to park in underground garages and travel on ferries.

The three Natural Power vehicles exhibited at the Hanover Motor Show are described below.

New Doblò Cargo Natural Power

The Doblò Cargo Natural Power is equipped with the dual-fuel (petrol/methane) 1.4 T-Jet, part of the new family of T-Jet turbocharged petrol engines, characterised by simple construction, sturdiness, reliability, excellent performance (172 km/h top speed), low consumption and environmental sustainability (134 g/km of CO2).

Turbocharging via intercooler and the presence of a wastegate valve allow the new engine to develop a maximum power of 120 HP at 5000 rpm with both petrol and methane, and progressive torque values (206 Nm at 3000 rpm) that allow good setting off and pick-up even with heavy loads. The excellent performance is combined with attractive fuel consumption levels (4.9 kg/100 km of methane in the combined cycle) and and remarkably low running costs: in Italy, for example, you can travel over 200 kilometres on only 10 euros of fuel (nearly double that of a 1.6 MultiJet engine). Today, filling up with methane will cost you approximately 16 euros.

The vehicle is configured to default to natural gas. The engine always starts on petrol and then immediately and automatically switches to the methane fuel system. The driver can, however, switch to petrol operation at any time by pressing a button on the central console.

The new Doblò Cargo CNG offers two types of system with cylinders under the floor panel in order not to detract from the useful volume of the load compartment (from 3.4 to 4.2 m3, increased by 0.4 m3 on versions with a revolving partition and fold-down passenger seat). The standard system with four cylinders offers a total capacity of 95 litres, equivalent to 16.15 kg of methane, guaranteeing a range of 325 km, complemented by 300 km of petrol range thanks to the 22 litre tank. With an additional 35 litre cylinder, the new Doblò Cargo offers a total system capacity of 130 litres, available as an option on long wheelbase versions. The 5 cylinders guarantee a range of 450 km, which increases to 750 km when the petrol range is included.

The bi-link rear suspensions, an exclusive for the small van segment, make it possible to guarantee the new Doblò Cargo Natural Power record capacities, ranging from 910 to 980 kg according to the version. These levels are higher than those of all competitors, even those with diesel and petrol systems.

Fiorino Cargo Natural Power

Available in two variants (van and Combi) and two versions (base and SX), the Fiorino Natural Power is the ideal solution for urban transport - also thanks to its compact dimensions - and is equipped with a 70 HP 1.4 litre petrol engine which adopts a Multipoint phased, sequential system. This technical particular allows the engine to achieve performance comparable to petrol engines when it runs on methane: top speed is approximately 150 km/h.

The Fiorino Cargo Natural Power delivers 70 HP (51 kW) at 6000 rpm, with a torque of 104 Nm at 3000 rpm. When running on petrol instead, engine performance becomes 77 HP (57 kW) at 6000 rpm and 115 Nm at 3000 rpm. The Fiorino Cargo Natural Power offers minimal emissions: 119 g/km of CO2 in methane mode against 158 g/km on petrol.

The natural gas is charged in two steel cylinders located under the floor panel, with an overall capacity of 77 litres (equal to approximately 13.2 kg of gas) and guarantee a maximum range of 300 km, thanks to consumption of 4.4 kg/100 km in the combined cycle. Running cost-effectiveness is particularly significant: for instance, again in Italy, you can travel 230 kilometres on 10 euros of methane, one hundred kilometres more than a 1.3 MultiJet 75 HP engine and filling up will cost you only 13 euros. The petrol tank (45 litres) also enables the vehicle to run for a further 660 km: this means that the total range is approximately 900 km. The methane-driven Fiorino boasts an optimum, regular load compartment that is perfectly flat along its length. This ensures a volume of 2.1 m3 and a capacity of 500 kg.

Ducato 140 Natural Power

Visitors at Hanover can admire a Fiat Ducato 140 Natural Power in Maxi Van configuration. The dual-fuel methane-petrol vehicle guarantees outstanding performance, low fuel consumption and, above all, minimal emissions. This is thanks to the three litre engine which, when running on methane, delivers a maximum power of 136 HP (100 kW) at 2750-3500 rpm and maximum torque of 350 Nm at 1500 rpm. With this fuel supply, the version of the Ducato Natural Power on show can reach a top speed of 155 km/h and accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 13.9 seconds, has a pick-up which lets it accelerate from 60 to 100 km/h in 10.1 seconds (in 5th gear), can tackle a gradient of 21.5% and, to finish, consumes 8.8 kg of methane every 100 km, with CO2 emissions of 239 g/km.

This engine was developed and produced by FPT - Fiat Powertrain Technologies: a solution that was built to run on methane from the initial design stages and is fitted with numerous specific components to ensure maximum reliability and efficiency whether powered by CNG or petrol.

The vehicle is configured to run normally on natural gas, while the petrol fuel system cuts in when the natural gas is about to run out. In this situation, the petrol tank (15 litres) in recovery mode guarantees a range of more than 100 km, in order to reach the nearest methane refuelling station.

The gas cylinders are located under the floor and this leaves the entire load compartment free for use. In detail, the fuel system consists of 5 cylinders: two 50-litre (equivalent to 8.5 kg each) and three 40-litre (equivalent to 6.8 kg each) for an overall capacity of 220 litres (equal to 37.4 kg) that guarantee a range of 400 km.

The methane, stored under pressure in the cylinders (200 bars of rated pressure at 15°C), flows into a dedicated pipe to the reduction unit/pressure regulator that supplies 4 injectors at low pressure (approximately 7 bar). These are fitted to the cylinder head and activated by the specific electronic control unit. If the methane runs out, the control unit automatically manages the transition to petrol supply.

The joy of travel: the Panorama versions of Scudo and Ducato

The Scudo and Ducato models boast a complete range of people transport vehicles, based on different outfits intended for specific uses and customers: from teams of workers with their equipment to large families who want the comfort and style which distinguish MPVs, and from customers who enjoy sport in their leisure time to business customer transport agents (hotel / airport shuttle, vehicle rental with driver).

Moreover, thanks to collaboration with the best fitters in the special assisted mobility equipment sector, the two models can be converted in line with the Autonomy Programme, the initiative that Fiat Group Automobiles has been working with since 1995 to create services and means of individual and collective transport for those with reduced motor abilities, always in line with continuous product innovations, and to help facilitate motoring for those with disabilities.

Scudo Panorama Executive 2.0 165 MultiJet

The Scudo on show in Hanover is an exclusive Panorama version in a 6-seater Executive outfit equipped with the excellent 2.0 165 MultiJet (Euro5) engine. A particular feature of this vehicle is the innovative flexible VitaMo system by Sortimo, which allows the interiors to be reconfigured easily with high comfort and safety standards. Sliding seats that can turn through 360° and folding, movable tables can be configured to create a small lounge for 4 people, for example.

The great flexibility of the VitaMo system makes it possible to quickly change the seat or equipment combinations as desired. The guides on the VitaMo floor facilitate the removal of seats and tables, also making it possible to carry bulky items, bicycles or other recreational or business equipment more easily by securing them to special adaptors and retaining systems patented by Sortimo.

Designed to meet the latest European urban and intercity goods transport needs, the Fiat Scudo range has recently been enhanced by the new top-of-the-range 2.0 165 MultiJet engine. All versions of the Fiat Scudo with this equipment are identified by the word "Power" on the front grille and offer ESP and a climate control system as standard.

Featuring a DPF and combined with a 6-speed manual gearbox, the new 2.0 165 MultiJet with variable geometry turbine delivers 163 HP at 3750 rpm and a torque of 340 Nm at 2000 rpm. These characteristics ensure a high top speed (170 km/h), rapid acceleration (0 to 100 km/h in 12.3 seconds with a medium load) and high pick-up (11.3 seconds from 80 to 120 km/h in 5th gear with a medium load). Significant results have been achieved in terms of fuel economy (only 6.9 l/100 km in the combined cycle for vans and 7.1 l/100 km for people transport versions) and CO2 emissions (181 g/km for vans and 185 g/km for the Combi and Panorama versions).

The Fiat Scudo was created in 2007 and has achieved significant sales results. The vehicle is much appreciated for the characteristics of the van versions and for the people transport range. The latter is intended both for professional use (taxis, shuttles, vehicles for carrying people with disabilities) and private use (families, sports teams, community use).

The model has always reconciled car-standard performance, handling and comfort with load capacity and loading efficiency in addition to the reliability and profitability typical of a commercial vehicle. It offers transport solutions with payloads from 1000-1200 kg (including driver) and internal volumes of 5.6 and 7 m3.

Modular Ducato Flex-Floor

At Hanover, there will be a Fiat Ducato Flex-Floor (9-seater people transport) equipped with the excellent 130 MJet, in combination with the Comfort-Matic gearbox. The vehicle guarantees great flexibility: with just one vehicle, a tourism professional (hotelier, taxi driver, etc.) can meet the needs of any customer, whether or not they have a disability.

The Ducato Flex-Floor (9-seater people transport) is inspired by aeronautical technology, characterised by construction with high resistance and minimal weight. This is shown by the special aluminium alloy passenger compartment flooring, comprising integrated rails for securing the single-seater, sliding, quick-release upholstery (content as standard). The modular flexibility of the floor, in conjunction with the seats with fitted belts, is worthy of note. It means that the Ducato Flex-Floor is a real asset when it comes to people transport, permitting the seating layout to be optimised according to the type of service and passengers carried, with ease and in complete safety.

An extensive range of dedicated after-market accessories is available for this version of the Ducato, both for tourism and for specific set-ups for transporting people with disabilities, developed by Olmedo, a company which has specialised in fitting out people transport vehicles for more than half a century. Additionally, thanks to its technical content and the modular interior, the new Ducato Flex-Floor lends itself particularly well to being fitted with special equipment for assisted mobility such as wheelchair attachments, upholstery with specific belts, systems to lift wheelchairs, washable passenger compartment linings and so on.

Available in both the "Panorama" (medium wheelbase 3,450 mm) and "Combi" (long wheelbase 4,035 mm) version, the new Ducato Flex-Floor intends to play a leading role in the 9-seat capacity People Transport segment, meeting the needs of professionals in the sector with innovative, exclusive content: from taxi drivers to car rental, public transport and associations.

Another particular of the model on show is the Comfort Matic 6-speed robotised gearbox, already available on the 180 MultiJet Power and recently introduced for the 2.3, 130 and 150 MultiJet engines. Technically, this is a robotised manual gearbox. The gear shifts are implemented by electronically controlled hydraulic actuators. This is a highly advanced and decisively state-of-the-art product that offers extremely rapid gear shifts and adopts self-adaptive logic.

In addition to automatic mode, using the joystick on the dashboard, the vehicle can be switched to semi-automatic or completely manual, so that it can adapt to the most varied requirements. Also of note is the exclusive "UP" function: pressing the designated button activates an operating logic specially designed for those who need to travel, with a full load, on challenging or winding roads. In these situations, the system ensures greater engine braking and earlier gear shifting.

Ducato Traction+ and Strada Adventure by Lumberjack for demanding missions

Fiat Professional is presenting two particular versions of the Ducato and Strada models which lend themselves, both in terms of style and content, to outdoor, professional use in which agility, versatility, load capacity and ability to tackle adverse terrain conditions count.

Ducato with "Traction+"

The Ducato on show in Hanover is equipped with the Traction+ system, which assists drivers in situations with low grip typical of an electromechanical self-locking differential, but without the extra weight and friction of four-wheel drive.

The system exploits the advanced hardware present on vehicles with ESP, electronically simulating the behaviour of a self-locking differential: when a wheel starts slipping, the system's control unit brakes the wheel through the hydraulic circuit and transfers the drive torque to the wheel on the road surface with the most grip. This makes it easier to manoeuvre the vehicle on surfaces with poor grip, such as snow or mud, ice or the grass of a campsite pitch.

Recently restyled, the new Ducato is the evolution of a best seller which for thirty years - with its five generations - has been accumulating international awards and commercial successes, as proven by the more than 2.4 million vehicles sold worldwide from 1981 to date. In particular, the model has a range of engines which are all Euro 5 and now deliver higher power, as well as being more differentiated and targeted to various "missions". Each one is leader in its power range in terms of fuel consumption, emissions and performance. The 115 MultiJet is particularly important, the engine with the lowest consumption and CO2 emissions (just 6.4 l/100 km and 169 g/km for the Combi versions), together with the new three-litre 180 MultiJet Power.

The range also includes two 2.3 litre engines: the 130 MultiJet and the150 MultiJet. According to the version, the new Ducato engines adopt second-generation MultiJet injection, a byword for technology, performance and cost-effective running and/or variable geometry turbocharger.

All engines stand out due to brilliant performance, low servicing frequency (every 48,000 km), low fuel consumption (up to 15% less than the previous Euro 4 engines) and low CO2 emissions, as well as quiet running and optimised weight. A Comfort-Matic robotised gearbox is also available, to combine the excellent performance and consumption of a manual gearbox with the simplicity and convenience of an automatic transmission.

The Ducato now features revamped interiors with new dashboard colour combinations, which make the comfortable, practical and highly functional cab - take the seats which can rotate through 180° for example - even more attractive. No less than three dashboard styles are available, depending on the outfit: dark grey (standard), "Techno" (with aluminium-coloured air vents) and "Elegant" (with Dip-printTM walnut-effect vents and central console).

The new Ducato's sophisticated infotelematic equipment also deserves attention. It includes exclusive and innovative solutions like the new radio built into the dashboard, myPort for the "TomTom" navigator and the integrated Blue&Me system, which has steering wheel controls and manages an array of connectivity functions, like hands-free phone calls and playing music from MP3 devices (including latest-generation iPodsTM).

It should also be borne in mind that the Fiat Ducato was "Born to be a motorhome": it was conceived and developed in collaboration with the biggest European motorcaravan manufacturers from the design stage. This is reflected in the solutions adopted to optimise both driving and life on board a Ducato-based motorhome. This is how a winning product was born, capable of meeting every outfitter's requirements: simply consider the fact that, given the possible combinations of bodies, capacities and engines, a record 700 motorhome-specific versions can be achieved, a third of the Ducato's total versions. To this we can add ease of outfitting, reduced costs, and above all, quality and versatility for the end customer. The end result is a leading product in the market with a record statistic: more than two out of three motorhomes sold in Europe are created on a Ducato base.

In recent months, many solutions have been introduced, designed to improve vehicle usage for motorhome owners. Starting with the new van base, suitable for large volume motorhomes, combined with specific light mechanics with 15" wheels. A further addition to the range is the début of the new cab and chassis cowl versions with extra-long wheelbase (from 4300 mm), which guarantee better dynamic behaviour and greater stability on the road.

Fiat "Strada by Lumberjack"  

Developed on the basis of the top-of-the-range Adventure outfit, the new Fiat "Strada by Lumberjack" was created in collaboration between Fiat Professional and Lumberjack, legendary footwear and outdoor clothing brand, on the basis of shared key values including practicality, quality and robustness. This is why the choice of a commercial vehicle on which to join forces could only be the New Fiat Strada, the pick-up that more than any other model lends itself to outdoor, professional use in which agility, versatility, load capacity and ability to tackle adverse terrain conditions count.

The Fiat "Strada by Lumberjack" is available in two cab configurations: Long or Crew. Both solutions are equipped with a brilliant 1.3 MultiJet 16v Euro 5 engine which delivers a maximum power of 95 HP and a torque of 200 Nm (20.4 kgm at 1500 rpm). With variable geometry turbocharger and intercooler, the engine guarantees excellent performance with low running costs and consumption (as low as 5.3 litres/100 km in the combined cycle). These figures are even more remarkable when compared to the bulky pick-up trucks made by competitors, which all link high power to high consumption.

On the outside, the new version of the Fiat Strada sports a special "Lumberjack red" body, a badge with the "Lumberjack" logo, side stickers with the wording "Natural Story" and electrically adjustable door mirrors. Furthermore, the "all terrain" look of the model is enhanced by lengthwise roof bars, 15" alloy wheels and oversized lug tread 205/65 R15 tyres.

The Fiat "Strada by Lumberjack" has plenty of comfort inside for occupants and is very carefully designed throughout. This is demonstrated by the leather seat upholstery, the specific mats with Lumberjack logo and the original clear, easy-to-read instruments, distinguished by three additional instruments, a compass and inclinometers.

Ergonomic antisubmarining seats, climate control, ABS, front airbags and fog lights make travelling and working on board the exclusive new version of the Fiat Strada pleasant, comfortable and safe. This extensive equipment is enhanced, again as standard, by the E-Locker (Electronic Locking Differential), an effective aid when tackling terrain with poor grip and, in general, where high-performance 4WD is not required. In detail, the system can lock the front differential, sending all the available torque to the wheel with the best grip to get the vehicle out of tricky situations: the result is "off-road-like" performance combined with all the winning characteristics of a 4x2. The E-Locker does not imply the increased costs of 4WD, it does not reduce tare or payload and it does not impact on fuel consumption and maintenance costs.

This genuine "unlimited edition" will certainly satisfy the needs of an international clientele who focuses on features and price, such as mountain villagers, stable owners, holiday farm managers and animal breeders, farmers and vineyard owners: in brief, people who are investing in the green economy, who are rooted in their land and its unique qualities. The Fiat "Strada by Lumberjack" was created with them in mind. It is a working pick-up with the spirit and appeal of a car, today also with a crew cab that can comfortably accommodate up to four people, for even more versatile use while retaining a net payload (without driver) of 350 kg. These features are made even more interesting by the external dimensions - it is 4.46 m long, 1.71 m wide and has a wheelbase of 2.75 m - and by the capacious rear bed which is either 1.33 m (long cab version) or 1.08 m long (crew cab version) and 1.3 m wide (1.07 m between wheel arches).

With a regular shape to make it easy to exploit to the full, the rear bed is provided with scratch-resistant protective lining designed to withstand extreme temperatures. Robust hooks used to fix the transported objects in total safety are intelligently positioned on the sides and bottom of the bed so as not to hinder loading and unloading operations. Access to the load compartment is also facilitated by the rear board, covered in non-slip material, which can be folded by 90° as well as removed. It can support a weight of 300 kg. The payload including driver ranges from 630 to 665 kg according to the version, while the gross vehicle weight is 1,915 kg and the towable weight 1,000 kg (braked trailer, 450 kg non-braked trailer).

Ducato DHL: simple, safe transport

There will also be an example of the Ducato DHL on show, converted by the well-known German body builder Sommer, to represent the countless conversion opportunities for Fiat Professional vehicles, from mobile workshops to vehicles with various bodies and from insulated vehicles to those with cold storage. This sector is experiencing continuous growth: suffice it to say that in Europe today, one vehicle out of three undergoes conversion.

Marked out by a yellow body colour and the DHL logos, the vehicle is based on the Ducato (Long Wheelbase and super-high roof) and has many features developed exclusively to optimise courier services and safety. For example, the distance that the courier must travel on foot is minimised to reduce strain and the risk of accidents: to deliver a package, the driver no longer needs to get out of the cab but, thanks to a panelled partition with sliding door more than 1.8 metres tall, can pass directly to the vehicle's load compartment, to take the items required. In detail, the door is completely integrated with the partition, so that the packages behind it don't obstruct its movement and prevent access (for greater security, it features a lock with key).

To help the courier move within the cab and optimise ergonomics, the cab's ceiling has been completely changed: the Ducato DHL's roof is 1.8 m higher (by the partition), allowing the driver to get out of their seat and move within the cab without any problems. And there's more: the passenger seat has been removed to increase the space in the cab and a folding seat installed on the partition to replace it. If required, it can accommodate an instructor during training for drivers.

Thanks to the cab's level floor, the Ducato model makes every movement on board simple and safe. This characteristic has been optimised still further in the DHL outfit, as shown by the sturdy lining with an aluminium chequer-plate panel, which ensures greater resistance to wear and a significant reduction in the risk of falling, even with wet shoes. There is also a cradle for a hand-held computer on the dashboard, so that the driver can always have the device to hand, as well as protect it when driving. A strongbox with lock is also in the cab.

The load compartment, spacious and logically organised, has been fully exploited through solutions specially designed for the client. The lighting for this work area has been the subject of particular attention, with the adoption of LEDs which switch on automatically thanks to a motion sensor. They switch off automatically after 2 minutes have passed since the last movement detected. LED technology, thanks to its low energy consumption, permits increased vehicle battery life, more space and high-quality lighting. With maximum safety always in mind, the floor of the load compartment has been lined with sturdy, laminated, anti-slip panels, while the external profiles and projections are easy to identify thanks to marker lines.

The rear area of the Ducato DHL is completed by two rails built into the floor which offer a wealth of points for securing objects which can resist a tension of 50 daN and by retaining hooks that can resist loads of 400 daN, again positioned on the floor. The walls too are lined with tough protective panels and are also equipped with folding shelves, divided into 4 independent sections on the driver's side and 2 on the opposite side. What's more, retaining hooks that can resist loads of 50 daN are positioned along the ends of each shelf. This specific shelving layout allows the floor to be left completely free, in order to make use of the 15 m3 offered by the vehicle's rear compartment. Four load fastening straps complete the equipment.

On the partition that separates the cab from the load compartment, next to the sliding side door, is it possible both to stow a transpallet (thanks to a dedicated locking system, it can be carried in complete safety) and easily access the rear area, using the large vertical handle located on the partition and the convenient step underneath the rear doors.

Finally, parking manoeuvres are facilitated and made safer by a colour camera which provides a faithful reproduction of the rear of the vehicle on a screen located in the cab.

eco:Drive Fiat Professional

The innovative eco:Drive Professional is the eco:Drive application designed especially for commercial vehicles. It incorporates parameters typical of an LCV - load carried and various front ends (should the vehicle be a conversion) - into the tried and tested eco:Drive, the software application developed by Fiat for more efficient and less polluting management of your car.

This device, the only one of its kind, allows vehicle trip data such as average fuel consumption, total mileage and the impact of load on the efficiency index to be analysed, suggesting more appropriate behaviour for an economical and sustainable driving style. And there's more. The wealth of data collected by Eco:Drive Professional can subsequently be grouped and processed through the eco:Drive Fleet web platform, which manages all data regarding individual vehicles in the fleet and makes it possible to plan efficiency improvements, thus becoming a significant measure of fleet quality.

With the introduction of eco:Drive for LCV, the fleet manager has an even more accurate tool to improve the training and efficiency of his drivers, thus considerably increasing the overall fleet savings over the year. The fact that eco:Drive Fleet can save up to 15% on fuel costs and play an important role when it comes to vehicle wear and tear should not be ignored: in fact, a real "eco-drive" gets the best and most efficient use out of all vehicle components.

Available for the Fiorino and Doblò models - if equipped with the Blue&Me system - the application can be downloaded for free from the www.fiat-fleet.com/ecodrive or www.fiat.com/ecodrive sites.

Finally, there is also the "eco:Drive mobile" version, the smartphone app which can be downloaded from the stores of mobile phone manufacturers. What makes this app distinctive is its ease of use: the driving and efficiency data is displayed directly on a smartphone with no need for a PC (in the case of a Fleet Manager, the data can be transmitted from the phone to the Fleet Portal, again without requiring a PC). 

11 September 2012

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