Fiat Automůveis Brasil has announced that it will usher in the third generation Fiat Ducato light commercial van and minibus range next year, replacing the long running second generation version that it currently assembles locally for Latin American markets.
The second generation of the Ducato that will see production finally winding down, was first introduced in Europe back in 1993, well before it arrived in Latin America, and it was replaced with the third generation in Europe in 2006, although production of the previous version has continued on in Brazil.
The Ducato light commerical vehicle range is developed by Sevel Sud (Societŗ Europea Veicoli Leggeri) at its factory at Atessa Val Di Sangro, Italy, a 50-50 joint venture between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and France's PSA-Peugeot Citroën. As well as the Ducato, the same van range is given minor cosmetic changes and sold in Europe as the Peugeot Boxer
and CitroŽn Jumper. The joint venture company actually started back in 1981 with the introduction of the first generation Ducato which was also sold by Alfa Romeo and Talbot as well as Fiat, Peugeot and Citroën. That project also included a plant in France that is now wholly owned by PSA after FCA sold its shares in 2012.
The third generation Ducato is scheduled to be replaced in Europe in 2019. It was given a mid life facelift in 2013 to carry it through until then. However the single official image released by Fiat Automóveis Brasil last week show the pre-facelift version, confirming this will be the bodystyle to be introduced in Latin America, which had already been announced last summer.
Interestingly, the third generation version has also been built at FCA's Saltillo plant in Mexico since 2013 and sold in North America as the Ram ProMaster, plugging a long standing gap in the FCA light truck brand's range for a large light commercial vehicle. Outwardly, the Ram ProMaster enjoys some unique styling features including a redesigned front bumper, although the main difference comes under the bonnet as its primary power unit option is Chrysler's 3.6-litre 24v V6 'Pentastar' petrol engine mated up to Chrysler's 62TE 6-speed automatic transmission. Also available is the 3.0-litre 16v "180 Multijet" turbodiesel (Iveco F1CE3481E) drawn from the Ducato's European range, which is dubbed "EcoDiesel" by Ram. That engine continues to be hooked up to GM's 6-speed automated manual gearbox.
Fiat Automóveis Brasil hasn't relased any information about the "Ducato 2018". The current model built in Brazil enjoys robust sales with low and high roof van ("Cargo") versions as well as a 15-seater ("Minibus") and comes equipped with a 127 CV 2.2-litre 4-cyl turbodiesel dubbed "Multijet Economy" that's built by FPT.