Fiat partners with Mitsubishi to build L200-based large pickup

Article by Christian Andrei, on June 5, 2014

Fiat is partnering with Mitsubishi to offer a large pickup in Europe and Latin America, sources told Automotive News Europe. A spokesman for Fiat has confirmed that the Japanese carmaker will provide the Italian group with a variant of the L200, a body-on-frame pickup that will be sold by Fiat Professional starting in 2016.

Fiat Chrysler chief executive Sergio Marchionne is expanding the lineup of its Fiat Professional commercial vehicle unit as a crucial part of a plan to turn around its fortunes in Europe by 2016. Fiat’s losses in Europe have surged to EUR2.15 billion ($2.93 billion in the past three years.

Analysts view Fiat Professional as one of the group’s profitable units in Europe, generating annual operating profits of between EUR200 million and EUR300 million in past last 10 years. Marchionne hopes the new pickup would hike Fiat Professional’s global sales from 431,000 in 2013 to 600,000 by 2018.

Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Russia accounted for 250,000 of the 2013 sales. Latin America and Asia Pacific accounted for sales of 179,000 units and 2,000 vehicles, respectively. Fiat Professional current offerings include the Strada small pickup sold in Europe and Latin America.

It was the unit’s best-selling offering in 2013 with sales of 134,000 units. The new pickup will be larger and will be available in either rear-wheel or four-wheel-drive configurations. Marchionne initially pledged to offer a large pickup in his 2006 business plan.

The large pickup was to share underpinnings with Tata Motors’ Xenon, but Fiat eventually scrapped plans to build it. The plan for the product resurfaced in Marchionne’s 2010 business plan, this time it would be a version of the Dodge Dakota pickup.

It production, however, never took off. In his latest business plan, Marchionne also included a pickup that will be market in Europe and Latin American starting in 2016. [source: automotive news - sub. required]

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