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Fiat’s Talento hidden no more

Name game: Fiat coined the Talento nameplate for its Scudo-replacing mid-size van by looking at historic Italian currency.

French-Italian ties swap from PSA to Renault with new Trafic-based Fiat Talento van

1 Apr 2016

FIAT Professional has revealed the Talento mid-size van that will replace the ageing Scudo, for which sales are now sagging.

Based on the critically acclaimed Renault Trafic, the Talento forms the first manifestation of Fiat’s van-making allegiance switch from PSA Peugeot Citroen to the Renault-Nissan AllianceThe Talento reveal was separately but shortly followed by comments from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles chairman Sergio Marchionne ruling out a merger with PSA and describing the advantages of such a tie-up as “too little”, according to news agency Reuters.

A spokesperson from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Australia said there were “no plans” to introduce the Talento Down Under, which leaves a question mark over whether the company will replace the Scudo with anything.

Only a front three-quarter image showing the Talento’s “purposeful and dynamic Fiat Professional family styling” has been shown so far, along with confirmation of turbo and twin-turbo diesel engines developing up to 108kW paired with six-speed manual transmissions.

Fiat Professional describes the Talento as “a functional vehicle that helps customers maximise the value of their work, time and investment by focusing on their needs regardless of whether they drive a van, people-carrier, crew cab or flat bed”.

The Trafic on which the Talento is based was revealed in March 2014, followed a month later by the British-built Opel/Vauxhall Vivaro.

In February this year, Nissan announced the NV300 nameplate will be applied to its as-yet unseen next-generation mid-size van, which will be produced alongside the Trafic at Renault’s Sandouville plant in northern France.

A production location for the Talento has not yet been announced, but Sandouville seems likely given the Scudo was produced at PSA’s Valenciennes facility in north-east France, close to the Belgian border.

Scudo replaced the Talento in 1996, the original being an extra short-wheelbase variant of the full-size Ducato. The revisited nameplate takes inspiration from an ancient Italian coin.

Fiat’s cooperation with PSA dates back to the era when PSA itself was created as Peugeot rescued bankrupt Citroen.

The Fiat 242 large van was also sold as a Citroen C35 from 1974 and the lineage continued through the 1981 Citroen C35 and first-generation Fiat Ducato. From the second-generation Ducato launched in 1994, Peugeot came aboard with the Boxer and Citroen adopted the Relay nameplate in English-speaking markets for its full-size vans.

Since 1996 Fiat’s mid-size Scudo van has been a version of the Citroen Dispatch and Peugeot Expert, across two generations.

Currently the Fiat Fiorino micro-van is rebadged as the Citroen Nemo and Peugeot Bipper, while the Citroen Relay and Peugeot Boxer full-size vans continue to share with the Fiat Ducato and will do until 2019 under a caveat in the agreement to dissolve the wider Fiat-PSA partnership by 2017.

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