FIAT Ducato – Born to be a Motorhome!
“Whoever buys a motorhome doesn’t buy a vehicle: these customers are buying holidays,” stated Bertrand Nogues, Head of Recreational Vehicles, Fiat Professional at a conference dedicated to the merits of the Fiat Ducato in Turin, Italy.
In highlighting the success of the Fiat Ducato as a recreational vehicle, he said that Fiat Professional is the first manufacturers to ‘go on holiday’ with its customers. “Ours is a business in the business, with specific ‘rules of the game’. The mission, for instance, whoever buys a motorhome doesn’t buy a vehicle: these customers are buying holidays! And whoever buys a Ducato Motorhome asks us the guarantee of holidays taken with peace of mind, thanks to the quality of our products and services – we can ensure that commitment,” he explained.
“Fiat Professional has embraced a new dimension in that not just as a “chassis manufacturer, but also as a “travelling companion” that sees motorhome Customers’ holidays from an all-round point of view – making information, services and solutions available. Mr. Nogues added, “and this positioning is born from our willingness to listen to the experience and expectations of our Customers. And when I am talking about Customers, I am referring to three customers for each chassis: to the motorhome end-user, to the recreational vehicle producer – to whom we supply the chassis to be converted in a Motorhome. And to the Dealers – who are the professional sellers of this specific category of vehicle, and our link to the end-user.”
In order to meet the expectations of all three of these customers, Fiat Professional has created – a dedicated organization, a focused engineering and product offering, and a specific range of services, thus becoming the one and only brand with a particular approach to Motorhome. “Ours is a 360° dedicated organization, which means that all the Fiat departments and the Fiat network are committed to provide special solutions to our Customers’ expectations. To give a better idea of how deep our approach goes into the Group, we have a dedicated Fiat Supply Chain for Motorhome producers. As a Motorhome producer, Supply chain is a key service, we cannot manage a delivery delay with a courtesy car because our delay will stop a factory. For this reason Fiat Supply Chain: uses a software dedicated to our business, that can assign production & transport first priority to Motorhome chassis orders, and allows orders variability, offering motorhome producer the possibility to change orders specification prior to production, and also order traceability till delivery. All this means being very focused, so focused that we were able to create the only vehicle ‘born to be a motorhome’. We were the first (and still the only) vehicle manufacturer to create a specific chassis for motorhome production, and not start from a LCV and see how to transformed it the best way for a Motorhome mission.”
“Obviously I’m talking about Ducato, along the years, Ducato has become the preferred base for conversions – a result also of the collaboration with the most important European motorhome manufacturers. Just think about it: three years before its commercial launch we introduced the project of the current Ducato to the main motorhome producers, asking them if they wanted different or additional specifications. We agreed more than 50 technical modifications to make Ducato an even better vehicle for the ‘leisure’ mission and to create a specific range additionally to the LCV one. Working with Motorhome manufacturers, Fiat engineering provides for instance: Fiat factory made and homologated swiveling seats, left side handbrake, profiled cabin roof to allow driving specs and the best use as living area; extended rear track and minimum chassis front length to have more space inside the Motorhome, special chassis more convenient for the transformation and lighter to allow more people on board, all kind of solutions that let people enjoy time together.”
“Dedicated static and dynamic tests are performed on Motorhomes to validate all the product evolution including chassis, suspension, engine set up to perfectly match the Motorhome ‘mission’ of Fiat Ducato,” he added.
“This also means being very close to our Customers’ needs, as also showed by the quality of our services. Our dedicated motorhome Customer Care service is active in 20 Countries, with operators speaking 15 different languages and providing a range of services from simple information into a full road-side assistance available in 51 countries 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The dedicated website fiatcamper.com has more than 30,000 monthly visitors – all motorhomes Customers searching for information and services throughout Europe. Fiat Professional is never far from its Customers’ side. We can guarantee competent and rapid assistance whenever and wherever it is required; thanks to the availability of over 6,500 Fiat Professional service points – all fully equipped for the maintenance and repair of the Fiat Ducato chassis. Among these are over 1,800 service workshops further equipped for motorhomes.
“And Fiat Ducato continues to evolve to respond even better to the demands of motorhome Customers and manufacturers worldwide, or at least where there is a market for Recreational Vehicles. Today you can travel around the world on board a Ducato Motorhome. A few months ago the first North American Motorhomes based on the RAM ProMaster chassis have been introduced with success. That’s a fact that with ProMaster, Ducato is confirming its global vocation and its attitude to be really close to the customers, by developing and adding new features to answer specific needs, as shown by the fact that ProMaster isn’t a Ducato with a RAM stuck on the front, but it is a Ducato re-designed with the North American market in mind and the American Customer in the centre.”
Mr. Nogues concluded, “Product, Organization, Network, Customer Services, thanks to our all-round approach, Ducato today is synonymous with motorhome holidays. Actually, more than two out of three Customers in Europe are choosing a motorhome based on Fiat Ducato.”
Text: Jarlath Sweeney – email@example.com