Fiat joins SA’s hot bakkie race
Vehicle developed in tight secrecy under code-name Projecto Fiat 226
HOT on the heels of the news of Renault’s Oroch bakkie, Fiat unveiled one of the most anticipated one-tonners yet in the bakkie world to the world’s media at the Dubai Motor Show on Tuesday.
Developed in tight secrecy under the code-name Projecto Fiat 226, the latest bakkie from Fiat is called the Fullback and will be a boon for Johan Cloete, Fiat’s new project manager of Fiat Development to oversee a campaign to get more people to buy Fiat’s commercial vehicles, which includes facelift derivatives of the Ducato and Fiorino vans as well as the Ducato Van, Minibus and Motorhome Chassis-cab.
Cloete has extensive commercial-vehicle industry experience, spanning more than 40 years, having previously worked in retail as well as at OEM level for Mercedes-Benz, Freightliner, FUSO, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and most recently MAN Trucks.
“We are serious about the future viability of the Fiat Professional brand in South Africa and believe its presence can be strengthened through the LCV development programme I have been tasked with heading up,” commented Cloete.
The new Fiat bakkie will come to South Africa’s shores next year on 4x2 or 4x4 drivetrains, powered by a 2,5 turbo diesel or a 2,4 petrol, both with five speed transmissions and both licenced to carry 1,1 tons.
Fiat’s bakkie roots go all the way back to the 1951 Woody and follows in the highly successful tyre-tracks of the half-ton Fiat Strada that was sold locally until 2012, as well as Fiat’s less successful 2007 collaboration with Tata to build and sell a bakkie in Argentina.
The new Fiat bakkie that is coming to SA next year, able to carry over a ton, on either 4x2 or 4x4 drivetrains.