The Ducato MY2020 makes its debut, and the best-selling mode, evolving to respond more closely to every professional need, also features major novelties for the Ducato motorhome base versions, aiming to even further consolidate its undisputed leadership in the sector: in the last 10 years more than 500,000 European households have chosen a Ducato-base motorhome. This is a constantly growing sector: compared to 2018, registrations rose by 6% in the early months of this year, proving that the motorhome is viewed more and more as a lifestyle enabler: not just a vehicle for use on holidays, but a means to freedom, for users to go wherever they want, whenever they want.
Against this background, Fiat Professional continues to head the field: the only brand to include a dedicated team with in-depth knowledge of the Recreational Vehicle world, “certified” by the new “Fiat Professional For Recreational Vehicles” logo, it also offers a high level of specialisation in terms of products and services, to guarantee customers the greatest possible flexibility and freedom. Ducato Fiat Professional is “Leader in Freedom” and this Leadership is confirmed by an amazing collection of international awards, including the coveted “Best motorhome base 2019” – won for the twelfth consecutive time this year – assigned by readers of “Promobil”, the German specialist magazine that has provided a major reference point for trends in the motorhome vehicle sector for more than 25 years. The latest important accolade confirms the trust placed by customers on the Ducato as the ideal base for leisure activities, confirming this extraordinary Italian success story on the roads of the world.
One of the new model’s biggest innovations, sure to delight customers in the recreational vehicle sector, is the new nine-speed automatic transmission, which delivers a relaxed, pleasant driving experience, without sacrificing performance and while optimising fuel efficiency in every situation. What’s more the engine line-up, always a strong point of the Ducato motorhome base, is now renewed to include a 2.3 litre Euro 6d-TEMP Diesel, again originating from the industrial sector. Rugged and durable but able to provide car-standard performances and comfort, it comes in four power ratings: 120, 140, 160 and 180 HP. All horsepowers feature the Multijet 2 technology, with its improved efficiency and fuel saving, but each unit has specific construction characteristics, such as the design of the turbocharger, pistons and fluid dynamics. The most advanced drive assistance systems are also available for long, carefree journeys, as well as motorhome-specific suspensions and a long series of features to guarantee superlative comfort.
Ducato is still built entirely at the Sevel Plant in Val di Sangro, Europe’s largest light commercial vehicle construction site and holder of World Class Manufacturing Silver Level. More than 297,000 vehicles rolled out of the Sevel plant in 2018, breaking its own production record for the fourth year in a row with a +46% increase over the past six years. This success stems from 38 years of experience. Since 1981, its winning features have been gradually perfected to turn Ducato into an authentic trendsetter produced in over 13,000 variants, including the many, very popular bases for outdoor tourism vehicles, and sold in more than 80 countries worldwide.
The new “9Speed” automatic transmission
The new Ducato motorhome base can be equipped with the innovative “9Speed” automatic transmission, best-in-class in terms of weight in its sector, which allows for optimum use of driving torque (peaking at a record of 450 Nm on the 180 HP version). It also guarantees outstanding reliability and durability thanks to the torque converter that makes up for the lack of traditional clutch. In particular, the Fiat Professional engineers developed the combination between the new transmission and the vehicle so that every customer would be able to optimise performance and consumption levels according to the specific mission and route. Drivers can pick between three different driving modes: Normal, Eco, which provides a smoother acceleration response and a dedicated gear shift strategy to allow for a greater reduction in consumption levels, and Power, which provides prompt response and gear shifts for pleasant driving and optimal performance even in tough conditions. There are two operating modes: in “Drive” position, the control module selects and shifts into gear according to the various driving conditions: speed, load, slope. In the event of frequent gear shifts and in particularly challenging conditions, such as on steep slopes, the “Autostick” mode enables the driver to stay in a lower gear, improving performance levels while avoiding overheating. It is activated by shifting the gear lever to the left, and then backwards and forwards to change gear.
Top performances and user-friendliness with the new engines
To suit any type of outfit and driving style, the Ducato motorhome base can be equipped with one of the four industry-derived Multijet 2 propulsion units – with power from 120 to 180 HP – all with displacement of 2.3 litres and Euro 6d -TEMP type-approval. It is worth noting that this is the biggest displacement in the category (2.3 litres and front-wheel drive), guaranteeing the best reliability and durability, even for the heaviest Motorhome configurations. One special characteristic is the adoption on all powerplants of a variable geometry turbocharger (VGT), for a smoother ride, improved handling and greater engine flexibility right down to the lowest speeds, meaning fuel saving in real use cycles. In detail, thanks to its electronic control the new turbocharger is in a position to adapt its fluid dynamics to the speed of the engine and to the driving style, to provide the right supercharging at all times. This is possible thanks to the implementation of a series of mobile blades situated along the radius of the turbine, which controls the flow of exhaust gas and consequently the speed and force of the compressor.
The line-up begins with the 2.3-litre MultiJet 2 engine delivering 120 HP at 2750 rpm with a maximum torque of 320 Nm at 1400 rpm, teamed with the manual gearbox, which improves power and torque by 10% compared to the previous 2.0-litre engine. This is the ideal powerplant for motorhomes up to 3.5 tons, since it enables, long, carefree journeys while always being sparing on fuel.
For those planning a medium-weight outfit, up to 3.5 tons, but seeking the best fuel efficiency, the ideal propulsion unit is the 3500 rpm 140 HP engine, the heart of the range, which is versatile and elastic with its torque of 350 Nm (+9% compared to the 130 Multijet) at just 1400 rpm, available with both manual and the leading-edge “9Speed” automatic transmission.
Environmentally-friendly construction and superior performance levels with the 160 HP at 3500 rpm, which distributes up to 400 Nm at 1500 rpm in the automatic transmission version. This power unit implements a specific engine shaft with oversized bearings, special pistons and a specific turbocharger, to the benefit of improved performance and engine durability. In other words, the 160 HP delivers the same on-road performance and its predecessor 180 HP, with lower emissions, making it the best solution for any outfit, even over 3.5 tons, or intended journey length, with excellent fuel efficiency and performance/weight ratios.
Finally, the top-end of the range boasts the 2.3 MultiJet delivering 180 HP at 3500 rpm and torque of 400 Nm with manual gearbox and 450 Nm (+12% compared to the previous model) with the new nine-speed automatic transmission, making it best-in-class in terms of torque It is dedicated to those in search of the best performance and absolute driving comfort, especially when teamed with the new automatic transmission, and is even used on all-wheel drive and particularly large-sized motorhomes.
Finally, we must also not forget that, as well as the usual Diesel particulate filter, all the new power units in the range feature post-treatment of exhaust gases using the SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) process. This is a chemical reaction that transforms pollutant nitrogen oxides (NOx) into harmless substances such as diatomic nitrogen (N2) and water (H2O), through the addition of a reducing agent (urea) with the commercial name of “adBlue”. The outcome is record-breaking eco-friendliness: amazingly, it would take more than 50 Euro6 motorhomes to produce the same emissions as just one Euro1 motorhome, and 14 to produce the same amount of nitrogen oxides.
Drive assistance systems for safe, carefree travel
Ducato-base motorhomes can be equipped with the very latest ADAS (Advanced Drive Assistance Systems), providing peace of mind at the wheel, even with the family on board. The latest innovations include Blind Spot Assist (BSA) – which uses radar sensors mounted in the rear bumper to identify oncoming vehicles invisible to the driver because they are in the rear-view mirror blind spot – and exclusive Rear Cross Path detection” (RCP), with radar sensors that identify vehicles arriving from the side when backing out of a parking space. It avoids accidents during manoeuvring. Also new is Full Brake Control (FBC), which identifies obstacles and, after checking whether there is imminent danger of collision, alerts the driver and intervenes by automatically triggering an emergency braking. These innovations are offered alongside the advanced drive assistance systems already available on Ducato, starting from the Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS), which detects if the vehicle is straying out of its lane, even when visibility is poor. In the event of danger an acoustic and visual signal alerts the driver immediately. Also available are Traffic Sign Recognition and High Beam Recognition: the former uses the on-board camera to help the driver to recognise speed limit and overtaking restriction road signs, showing them on the on-board display, while the latter controls on/off switching of the high beam headlights to reduce the risk of dazzle during night driving, automatically recognising oncoming vehicles. The new Ducato base outfit is completed by the Rain and dusk sensor, which activates the windscreen wipers and adjusts their speed according to the intensity of rainfall, while the dusk sensor automatically switches on the low beam headlights when the outdoor light is insufficient, and the Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), which constantly monitors tyre pressure and alerts the driver to any pressure drops on the on-board display.
Ducato is “Leader in freedom”
Freedom is the promise to customers that Fiat Professional will always be on hand with solutions to any problem they may encounter during their holidays. Ducato is also the Leader because the brand offers a unique, unrivalled series of special services for the motorhome world. Ducato motorhomes are continuously progressing in terms of product and of dedicated services that revolve around motorhome holiday making. The ability to listen to Customers – which starts in the Customer Care Centre and continues in the Fiat Professional workshops – indeed not only makes it possible to respond efficiently to current needs, but also to anticipate them.
The basic assumption is that purchasing a motorhome means buying a holiday and not just a vehicle. For this reason, the service concept extends from product assistance to caring for customers on holiday by constantly keeping in touch with them. More specifically, an extensive, dedicated network, spread out along the routes most often travelled by motorhome users, a competent and knowledgeable Customer Care Centre for all motorhome owners and roadside assistance ready to spring into action across Europe and beyond.
Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, camper van users can call the dedicated Customer Care Centre and speak with one of the twenty Fiat Camper Brand Ambassadors in their own language. The Ambassadors’ mission is to solve the problems of customers as quickly as possible by interfacing with them and coordinating with everyone involved to ensure constant dialogue under the sign of understanding and expertise. For this reason, the dedicated team members are constantly trained and updated. They attend the major European sector-specific trade shows to keep abreast of trends and closely follow the motorhome world.
Customer Care is increasingly integrated with roadside and workshop assistance: all motorhome users can rely on in no fewer than 53 different countries twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Telephone support provides updates on repair times and methods to the customer and active support to workshops to facilitate troubleshooting and ensure quick delivery of spare parts.
This full range of services all tailored to the needs of motorhome customers also includes the indispensable “Maximum Care Camper” international warranty extension, which provides coverage on all mechanical and electrical components of the Ducato offering different durations. Ducato Motorhome users can rely on over 6,500 Fiat Professional workstations equipped to maintain and repair Ducato-based motorhomes, including over dedicated 1,800 Fiat Camper Assistance centres.
For many years, Fiat Professional has been following and providing valuable assistance for motorhome users, as confirmed by attendance at more than ten specialised motor shows across Europe every year, a dedicated website www.fiatcamper.com that receives an average of more than 86,000 visits per month, the “Fiat Ducato Camper” Facebook page that has more than 60,000 fans, and from this year also the brand-new @FiatPro4RV Instagram page. Furthermore, Fiat Professional invests time and resources to continuously improving dedicated products and services created in collaboration with Mopar, the reference brand for services, Customer Care, genuine spare parts and accessories for FCA brands.
The new “Fiat Professional for Recreational Vehicles” identity
The two key notions to be used when talking about Fiat Professional products and services are “constant improvement” and “specialisation”. These two concepts are inspiring the progress of the brand in communications and in creating connections with end customers, that is with Recreational Vehicles buyers. Market positioning has been perfected and developed over the past years. The focus of communications shifted from describing the uniqueness of products and services to a more complete approach. Fiat Professional is “Leader in Freedom” because product and service excellence guarantees the maximum flexibility and freedom to users. Its positioning has been consolidated through activities and actions which are coherent across all contacts with customers, from the ten international shows that the brand attends every year to communications on major media. The goal is now to address customers with the tone of voice of a fully-fledged brand, using consistent words and adopting a well-defined visual identity, naturally in line with that of Fiat Professional.
A journey that began last year, with the new “Fiat Professional for Recreational Vehicles” logo. The name and logo enhance the Fiat Professional brand with specialisation in and commitment to the recreational vehicle business. The new identity underlines its true nature as leader in the recreational vehicle sector
Turin, 27 June 2019