Fiat gears up to raise light commercial profile
30 April 2012
Author: James Dallas
Fiat Professional introduced robotised transmission on its 2.3-litre Ducato with power outputs of 130hp and 150hp at the CV Show.
The system was previously only offered on the 3.0-litre Ducato, and Fiat claimed its improved drivability would particularly appeal to minibus operators when married to the lower-powered engines.
Also on the manufacturer's stand was a Fiorino featuring Traction Plus, which Fiat said delivers off-road driveability without the incremental weight gain that comes with four-wheel drive.
Fiat has now extended its Eco Drive software to cover van fleets. The technology, which it introduced to cars three years ago, enables operators to download engine data to a USB in order to analyse driving efficiency.
It is available for free on all models with the Blue&Me infotainment system, which feature a hands-free telephone kit, Bluetooth and steering wheel-mounted audio controls.
Fiat Professional's UK boss Sebastiano Fedrigo said that having freshened up its model range, Fiat now aimed to improve the professionalism of its retail network.
Key to this are 35 Iveco and Daf truck dealerships the brand has taken on, all of which offer either 24-hour servicing or extended opening hours.
He added that Fiat Professional's ability to enlist truck dealers from within the Fiat empire provided an advantage over most of its competitors:?"Truck dealers are more proactive than car dealers, they don't have showrooms so they go out to get business."
Fiat Professional has launched a pilot scheme to attract SME customers, an area where Fedrigo said there is room for improvement. It has signed up 12 dealers to its DAMS (dealer appointment-making service) programme under which the manufacturer contacts prospective customers before handing over to the retailers to take over the sales process.