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Fiat may get Triton-based ute

Italian workhorse: A mid-size ute based on Mitsubishi’s Triton is believed to joining the Fiat Professional line-up.

Fiat is said to be joining forces with Mitsubishi to produce a Triton-based utility

Fiat logo9 Jun 2014

FIAT is reportedly planning to add a utility to its commercial vehicle range and it looks set to be based on Mitsubishi’s next-generation Triton, according to European reports.

Inside source have told industry publication Automotive News Europe that Mitsubishi will supply Fiat with the L200 – sold in Australia as the Triton – which will be built at the Japanese car-maker’s plant in Thailand.

The Triton-based Fiat utility would join the Fiat Professional line up, but it is not known if both four-wheel-drive and front-wheel drive variants will be made available.

Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne announced the company’s five-year plan in early May and a small ute has been scheduled to be released in the Latin American market in 2016.

President and CEO of RAM Trucks Reid Bigland stated that if another Fiat Chrysler utility was to enter the Latin American market it would have to be smaller and less expensive than a Ram pick-up truck so as to not cannibalise sales.

Currently Fiat sells the small front-wheel drive Strada utility in Latin America and Europe. A Triton-based ute would sit above the Strada in the line-up, however, it is not known if the utility expected to enter this market will be a rebadged Triton as suggested by the inside sources.

Fiat Chrysler Australia has not commented on whether the rumoured utility will also be sold in Australia under the local Fiat Professional banner.

There have been rumours that a new Fiat Chrysler utility could surface with Jeep badges, but the lack of any such model in Jeep’s five-year plan put that speculation to rest.

The current Fiat Professional line-up in Australia consists of two vans in – the Scudo and the larger-sized Ducato – available with a number of variants.

In May, the Ducato was Fiat Professional’s biggest seller with 110 units sold, which is a 57 per cent increase over the same month last year.

Fiat Professional’s haul of 469 Ducatos for the first five months of this year is a 16 per cent boost when compared with the 404 it sold between January and the end of May, 2013.

Fiat Professional’s local operators told GoAuto in October last year that they plan on increasing the brand’s market share in Australia by boosting to its line-up with new body-styles and variants as well as expanding the dealer network to 60 from the 16 it had when it took over the business in May 2012.

If a Fiat-badged utility gets the green light, it could fit neatly into the Fiat Professional line-up in Australia and help give the company the boost in volume it is looking for.

The current-generation Mitsubishi Triton has been built alongside Nissan’s Navara for the past two years at its Laem Chabang factory in Thailand, although this relationship will end with Nissan building its next-generation ute – due to be unveiled later this week – at another plant.

The next generation Triton is expected to arrive in Australia by the end of this year and Mitsubishi has previously said it will target a five-star ANCAP crash safety rating for the first time.

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