Confirming the importance Fiat Professional attributes to the motorhome market, Fiat’s Ducato and the associated services on offer to motorhome owners will once again feature prominently on the Fiat Professional stand, 3125, at The Spring Caravan & Camping Show, held at the NEC, Birmingham, 19-24 February 2013.
New for 2013, The Spring Caravan & Camping Show is the UK’s biggest and most exciting start-of-the-year showcase where major UK and European motorhome manufacturers will be displaying their latest season’s models with many based on the Fiat Ducato chassis.
Visitors to the Fiat Professional stand will have the opportunity to view the technical details of a motorhome chassis close up, talk to staff from Fiat Professional and discover the full range of services available to Fiat based motorhome owners to ensure that they will be travelling with confidence.
Within the UK and European motorhome market Fiat has been the established leader for over 10 years thanks to its specific chassis and the unique range of services it provides dedicated to motorhome customers.
Fiat Professional’s Ducato is the sector’s clear leader and Fiat Professional is the only vehicle manufacturer to create bases which are specifically designed, developed and manufactured for conversion, and produced in collaboration with motorhome manufacturers, as well as being one of the first to offer a range of services dedicated to providing a support network conceived especially for Fiat Ducato motorhome owners.
Exhibits on the Fiat Professional stand will include a Ducato Maxi 2.3 litre 150bhp chassis cab with the new extra-long wheelbase equipped with Comfort-Matic gearbox together with a display of this transmission.
Fiat Ducato: Real holidays, peace of mind
Right from the design phase, the Fiat Ducato has been conceived and developed in collaboration with the biggest European motorhome manufacturers. This is reflected in the plethora of solutions devised especially to optimise both driving and life on board a Ducato-based motorhome.
Recently restyled, the Ducato is the evolution of a best seller which for the last 30 years – with its five generations – has been reaping international awards and commercial successes, as proven by more than 2.3 million vehicles sold worldwide from 1981 to date.
This is how a winning product was created, capable of meeting every converter’s requirements: simply consider the fact that given the possible combinations of bodies, capacities and engines, a record 700 motorhome-specific versions can be achieved, a third of the Ducato’s total versions. To this flexibility can be added ease of conversion and, above all, quality and versatility for the end customer. The result is a market leading product with record sales: more than two out of three motorhomes sold in Europe are assembled on a Ducato base.
Fiat Ducato: Travelling with Confidence
Fiat Professional is the only manufacturer to offer a specific engine for each type of motorhome, as well as a variety of power options for each engine. All Euro 5, the range of engines was redesigned to offer even greater power – with an average 15/20 HP increase – and consumption which has been reduced by 9-10% compared to the previous Euro 4 engines.
The Fiat Ducato’s engines are best in class in their categories in terms of their performance/consumption ratio, as well as standing out thanks to their low noise levels, optimised weight and increased service intervals (48,000km 30,000 miles).
The 130 and 150 MultiJet versions offer optimum flexibility and are ideal for medium sized motorhomes. Specifically, the 150 HP version offers the same performance as the previous 3 litre Euro 4 engine, but with significantly reduced consumption. The 180 MultiJet Power has been adapted for large sized motorhomes, or those weighing more than 3.5 tonnes, which is a growing market segment. Depending on the version, the new Ducato engines also benefit from second-generation MultiJet injection, which represents technology, performance and economy.
Customers are therefore able to select the engine option which best meets their needs and best suits the type of motorhome they require.
Comfort-Matic: the ideal solution for travelling in total comfort
Also of great interest to motorhome customers is the Comfort Matic 6-speed robotised gearbox, which is already available on the 180 MultiJet Power and has recently also been extended to the 130 and 150 MultiJet engines.
Fiat Professional is the only manufacturer to offer motorhome customers a robotised gearbox which is available with all three engines. The Comfort-Matic gearbox’s popularity is increasing and currently achieving over 25% of the sales mix, providing customers with an advantageous balance between performance and fuel economy.
The Comfort-Matic gearbox is an innovative robotised transmission that combines the advantages of a manual gearbox (simplicity, fuel efficiency and performance) with the practicality and comfort of an automatic transmission. It is therefore an extremely interesting option for those who love leisure, such as motorhome owners.
The gearbox meets the demands of all those customers interested in the specific features of automatic transmissions, and increases the Ducato’s already consolidated values of flexibility and versatility. The Comfort-Matic gearbox provides an ideal solution for recreational vehicles such as motorhomes and camper vans.
Great attention has been paid to adapting and customising the gearbox for recreational vehicles during the development stage. Proof of that is the use of motorhome prototypes for the tuning and testing stage, with faithful reproduction of the configurations of front surfaces, gross vehicle weight and the typical usage conditions of this vehicle class. In addition, to respond to the mobility needs of caravans and motorhomes, which, by their nature, are used in maximum load conditions, there is a special UP button on the Comfort-Matic gearbox panel. It automatically optimises the gear shift points to ensure the most appropriate engine rpm in any condition and improve performance in particularly harsh conditions or on steep slopes.
Technically, the gearbox is described as an MTA (Manual Transmission Automated) and consists of a conventional manual gearbox in which the manual linkage is replaced by an actuator, controlled electronically by a TCU (Transmission Control Unit).
In detail, the gearbox offers six speeds (plus reverse) that work in both fully automatic mode and in a sequential manual mode with actuation. In manual mode, the driver can choose which ratio to engage by means of the ‘joystick’ gear lever on the dashboard, and there is no clutch pedal.
In automatic mode, the driver can make use of the numerous functions typical of electronic transmission management:
The Comfort-Matic gearbox, used in automatic mode, offers several advantages over a manual device. For example, it offers maximum driving comfort, especially in heavy town traffic conditions, and great driving satisfaction due to the smooth gear shifts. Pressing the UP button on the transmission tunnel, makes it possible to use a special profile for driving in mountainous areas or under heavy load conditions. And there’s more: the Comfort-Matic gearbox ensures efficient engine braking on steep gradients, while the lever and gearbox control systems ensure maximum reduction in transmission noise.
Compared with conventional automatic transmissions, the New Fiat Ducato Comfort-Matic offers lower weight (approximately 30% less), greater fuel economy, improved energy efficiency and also a significant reduction in maintenance and repair costs.
The innovative Comfort-Matic robotised gearbox, available on the 130 and 150 MultiJet II versions, further illustrates Fiat Professional’s on-going commitment to its customers, and particularly motorhome owners.
Total safety with the Traction+ control system
Already at the top of its category in terms of safety features, Ducato includes Fiat’s Traction+ system which assists drivers in situations with low grip, in a similar way to an electro-mechanical self-locking differential, but without the extra weight and friction of a four-wheel drive system.
The system exploits the state-of-the-art hardware present on vehicles with ESP, which electronically simulates the behaviour of a self-locking differential: when a wheel starts slipping, the electronic control unit of the hydraulic circuit applies the brakes to the wheel and transfers the drive torque to the wheel on the road surface with the most grip. This makes it easier to manoeuvre the vehicle on surfaces with poor grip: such as snow or mud, ice, or the grass of a campsite pitch.
The range’s latest new features
Over recent months, several solutions have been introduced which have been designed to improve vehicle usage for motorhome owners. This starts with the new van base which has been adapted for large volume motorhomes, combined with specially designed light mechanicals with 15″ wheels to allow driving with a category B licence. Another new feature is the introduction of new cab and chassis cowl versions with extra-long wheel base (4300 mm) to ensure better dynamic behaviour and increased stability on the road.
There’s also a new dashboard design for an even more welcoming interior which is packed with intelligent solutions to make life on-board easier, like the seats which can be rotated through 180 degrees. And depending on the trim level, customers can also choose between three different dashboard finishes: dark grey (standard), Techno (with aluminium coloured air vents) and Elegant (which includes air vents and the central module in walnut effect Dip-print™).
The new Ducato’s infotainment system includes exclusive and innovative solutions like a new car radio integrated in the dashboard, myPort for the TomTom navigator and the integrated Blue&Me system, which has controls on the steering wheel and manages an array of connection functions, like hands-free telephone and playing music from MP3 devices (including latest-generation iPods™).
The Ducato Eco-System: dedicated solutions for special customers
Fiat Professional is committed to leisure users not just as a chassis producer, but as a travel partner which considers every aspect of a motorhome holiday. In this way it provides not only outstanding product quality, but valuable services such as a new mobile application, dedicated website (www.fiatcamper.com) and a freephone number reserved exclusively for motorhome customers. With Ducato, Fiat Professional aims to provide a complete experience to motorhome customers, with an integrated eco-system of solutions and services for the best holiday experiences.
The fiatcampermobile application
Recently introduced and available free of charge, this is the first app dedicated especially to Ducato motorhome owners. The Fiat Ducato Camper app can be downloaded free of charge from the App store, Google Play and from the dedicated www.fiatcamper.com website. Its application – rich in utilities and contents which will accompany Fiat Ducato customers through 15 European countries – offers information on campsites, parking areas and places of interest to tourists, as well as the option to contact their nearest dealer, Customer Care or roadside assistance. There’s also a function which allows a customer’s motorhome to register its exact location once parked. This makes it particularly easy to get home, by accessing the Find function which will show customers the way to go.
With more than 120,000 hits per month, the dedicated fiatcamper.com website is being visited more and more often by motorhome owners all over Europe who are looking for services or information. With a graphically pleasing appearance and simple and responsive navigation, the website offers technical information, news and events, as well as specific functions such as the Chassis Check, one of the most popular services, which allows customers to check if their motorhome has been updated with the latest technical set-up or is subject to any recall campaigns.
Other widely used functions include the Find a Service Centre option, which allows customers to search quickly by country, particularly useful for those planning a trip who are looking for an up-to-date list, which can be downloaded and printed, showing the service centres located along the chosen route.
Specifically, there are more than 6500 Fiat Professional service centres throughout Europe, all of which are equipped to service and repair motorhomes with Fiat Ducato bases. More than 1800 of these offer further specialised services especially for this type of vehicle, with increased workspace, enclosed parking and ramps capable of supporting larger weights.
Last year, the dedicated network was enlarged to include new service centres along the most popular motorhome routes, such as the Scandinavian peninsula, for example. Finally, to ensure the needs of motorhome users worldwide are met, the website is available in nine languages, Italian, English, French, Spanish, German, Dutch, Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish.