Fiat joins SA’s hot bakkie race

Ve­hi­cle de­vel­oped in tight se­crecy un­der code-name Pro­jecto Fiat 226

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING - AL­WYN VILJOEN

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.

PHOTO: SUPPLIED

The new Fiat bakkie that is com­ing to SA next year, able to carry over a ton, on ei­ther 4x2 or 4x4 driv­e­trains.

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