Fiat Kills Off a Truck That's Not Really a Fiat
Perhaps to its misfortune, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles does not sell a midsize pickup in the world’s biggest truck market, but buyers in certain overseas markets were able to get into a four-door, body-on-frame midsizer carrying the Fiat badge — the Fullback, more properly described as a rebadged Mitsubishi Triton/L200.
Note the word “were.” The Fiat Fullback is no more, according to FCA’s light commercial vehicles division. The discontinuation stems from the same problem Fiat faces in America: really bad sales.
Speaking to the UK’s Auto Express, Fiat Professional boss Richard Chamberlain, confirmed the pickup’s removal from the brand.
“A combination of factors has led to the Fullback no longer being on sale,” he said. “Low sales volumes and the forthcoming Euro 6 diesel emissions legislation meant it was no longer viable for Fiat Professional to offer the Fullback.”
The Mitsubishi-based Fullback went on sale in 2016 in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, positioned as a hasty competitor to popular midsizers like Ford’s Ranger and Nissan’s Navara. At the time, the midsize pickup segment was, like it is in the U.S., on the march, and the newcomers were all based on other existing pickups.
The Renault Alaskan? It’s a Nissan Navara underneath. Mercedes-Benz’s X-Class? Again, a Navara. So Fiat making use of Mitsubishi’s Triton/L200 made some sense. A 2.4-liter diesel four-cylinder powered Euro models.
Fast-forward two years from its introduction, and the Fullback could only boast a 3.3-percent European pickup market share. Data published by JATO Dynamics for the period of January to April 2018 shows the Fullback in second-last place, ahead only of the Alaskan (which only went on sale in spring of 2017). Not surprisingly, the Ranger took top honors with 26 percent of the continent’s pickup sales. In second place was the Toyota Hilux, a truck familiar to American TV viewers with a fondness for war coverage.
What’s notable about JATO’s data is that the X-Class, a vehicle both truckophiles and Benz aficionados would have good reason to avoid, took 4.5 percent of the market. The aging Volkswagen Amarok? 11 percent.
The Fullback probably won’t be missed. Meanwhile, North Americans wait patiently to see when FCA pulls the plug on the Fiat brand in that market.
[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]