Fiat Ducato: a 30-year success story

The five generations of the Ducato have accompanied so many professionals over the last 30 years. It has always been popular with independent workers in various sectors (crafts, commerce, construction, agriculture, maintenance and services), large fleets (public and private), convertible recreational vehicles (camper vans, caravans and motorhomes) and specialist transportation (ambulances, minibuses, school buses, flatbed trucks, insulated vehicles, etc.). The reasons for the vehicle's success lie in the great versatility that it has shown over these 30 years.
The first version was launched in 1981, when the market and economic climates were totally different to what they are today. Even back then, the Ducato was a practical and solid product that took a modern approach to light commercial vehicles' requirements of practicality, reliability and economy. The vehicle was restyled in 1990.
The third generation was launched in 1994 with a real family of vehicles: some 500 versions differing by chassis, size and tonnage in order to respond effectively to different working requirements. With the market welcoming this development, commercial success was not long in coming. The specialist press acknowledged the innovation and customer-focused approach by awarding the Ducato the title ‘International Van of the Year 1994'.
Another generation arrived in 2002: a flexible, dynamic and pleasant model for everyday use. It didn't veer too far from the looks and the philosophy of the previous model; its strength was simply having so many strengths.
2006 saw the launch of the fifth and most recent generation. It was totally innovative in all areas: from style to comfort, safety to driveability, practicality to performance, reliability to economy and versatility to productivity.
There have also been cutting-edge engine solutions developed over the years which have pleasantly surprised customers in terms of technology, performance, reliability and competitiveness.
Here are some of the most significant launches:
- 1998: debut of the SOFIM 2.8 i.d. TD engine (122 HP and 285 Nm).
- 2000: 2.8 JTD Common Rail (127 HP and 300 Nm).
- 2002: 2.3 MultiJet (110 HP and 270 Nm) and dual-fuel methane/petrol Bi-power engine.
- 2004: 2.8 JTD Power "Common Rail" with variable geometry turbocharger (146 HP and 310 Nm).
- 2006: 2.2 MultiJet (100 HP and 250 Nm)
2.3 MultiJet (120/130 HP and 320 Nm)
3.0 MultiJet (157 HP and 400 Nm)


Sevel: the Ducato plant

Sevel (Società Europea Veicoli Leggeri) in Val di Sangro is the largest commercial vehicle factory in Europe for vehicles with GVWs from 2.8 to 3.5 tonnes. Built in 1981 to begin production of the Ducato, it is located in the province of Chieti, between Atessa and Paglieta, over an area of more than 1.2 million square metres (120 hectares), of which 344,000 (34 hectares) are covered, and it is equipped for the entire production cycle: bodywork, paintwork and assembly. Bodywork creates around 300 different chassis types, Paintwork uses around 120 colours and Assembly produces more than 6,000 versions (Fiat + PSA totals) and over 150 optional extras. These are big numbers, but they are justified by the varied needs of professionals and fleets. The Ducato can meet these requirements thanks to the flexibility of its factory. The Ducato remains one of the most popular and bestselling commercial vehicles in Europe partly because its factory has been able to grow, adapt and reinvent itself in parallel with changes to the product.

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