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Fiat’s Siamese Ducatos go two up

Each way bet: Joined at the hip, these Fiat Ducatos on a vehicle transporter had Melbourne drivers scratching their heads.

Twin trucks give Fiat Ducato cab-chassis a more efficient mode of transport

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Fiat logo8 Jul 2015

HERE’S the latest in trucks for those who don’t know if they are coming or going.

Fiat Professional’s split personality Ducato combo was spotted by GoAuto on a vehicle transporter on Melbourne’s Monash Freeway this week.

As Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Australia explains, the back-to-back arrangement is simply the clever way to transport cab-chassis Ducatos from the factory to specialist coach builders for whom the Italian truck is the base vehicle of choice.

Minus the rear end and bolted together by the rear chassis rails, the two trucks can fit into the shipping space of one complete vehicle, be shuttled around by one driver and be moved in tandem to the factories of independent companies that complete the job by, for example, fitting them out as motor homes.

Says FCA product strategy senior manager Alan Swanson: “I know it looks like it’s a part of FCA’s top secret Transformers project, but it’s actually just the easiest, most space-efficient way to transport these vehicles.

“Specialist coach builders, for example, transform the Fiat Ducato’s cab chassis into motorhomes, among other applications, and this is the easiest way to ship them.”

The diesel-powered Ducato is front-wheel drive, meaning there is no rear driveshaft and differential to get in the way. A transport car wrangler just needs to pop the rear truck in neutral, turn the ignition key in the lead truck and drive the pair off a ship and on to a truck.

The sixth-generation Ducato – launched in Australia in November last year – is employed by no fewer than seven coachbuilders in Australia, namely Jayco, Avan, Horizon, Winnebago, Trakka, Sunliner and Avida.

These manufacturers appreciate the load-lugging ability of the Ducato’s 130kW 3.0-litre turbo-diesel engine on vehicles with payloads of up to two tonnes.

Thanks to Australia’s burgeoning grey army that is on the march around Australia, not to mention a healthy tourist hire vehicle trade, FCA estimates that 700 new Ducatos will be fitted out by these coach builders this year.

Last year, Fiat Professional sold 933 Ducatos, making the largest of the company’s three trucks offered in Australia its best seller.

So far this year, the Ducato sales tally is 456 units, and while that is 19 per cent down on last year, it still puts the range on track for another 900-plus sales year.

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