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Fiat Fullback mid-size pickup unveiled

by Bill Cawthon on

As Allpar predicted some time ago, Fiat is getting into the mid-size pickup market with a little help from Mitsubishi.

The Fiat Fullback, a rebadged Mitsubishi L20, is being launched in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, where it will complement the Fiat Strada compact pickup in a growing market. First shown at the Dubai Auto Show, it will go on sale in May 2016.

Fiat-Fullback-Web

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) wrote that the name comes from the position in rugby or American football and “denotes a player who is capable of dealing with any situation.”

There are three cabs (single, extended, double) and a chassis cab version, in three trim levels, all of which are built in Thailand with the Mitsubishi L200. The pickup has rear wheel drive with optional four wheel drive; the top payload is 1,100 kilograms (about 2,425 pounds).

In the Middle East and Africa, the Fullback will have a 110 or 178 horsepower  2.5-liter diesel, and a 132-horsepower, 2.4-liter gasoline engine, with a five-speed manual or automatic transmission.  Elsewhere, the diesel is a 2.4 liter version with 150 or 180 horsepower, and transmissions are a new six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic with Sport mode.

The medium-size pickup segment is growing quickly. In the Middle East, pickups account for 58% of all Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) sales; in Africa, the share is 52%.  Pickup deliveries totaled 675,000, a 23% share of the LCV pie, during 2014 in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.

Daimler and Renault are also fielding new mid-size pickups — both of which are rebadged Nissan NP300 Navaras. The Renault Alaskan, will launch in 2016, and the Mercedes will appear “by the end of the decade.”

In the United States, the Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon has been a mild sales hit, combatting the popular Toyota Tacoma. Ford is reportedly considering bringing back the Ranger, as well. The cost of bringing the L200 into regulatory compliance, combined with the size of the market and rising competition, will likely prevent an L200 variant from making an entrance in the US and Canada.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for just-auto.com, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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