Fiat Professional: Vans from Stellantis

Date: Thursday, June 9, 2022   |   Author: James Dallas

Platform sharing may deliver strength in numbers but it could come at a cost of identity for brands such as Fiat Professional.

Product sharing among brands is nothing new in the light commercial vehicle industry, indeed Fiat, Citroën and Peugeot have collaborated for more than 40 years under the Sevel agreement to produce their respective large vans the Ducato, Relay and Boxer at the Sevel Sud factory in Italy. From 1995 the brands also teamed up at the Sevel Nord plant in France to produce their medium vans, the Scudo, Dispatch and Expert, although Fiat Professional’s Scudo was withdrawn in 2016 to be replaced by the Talento – a rebadged Renault Trafic.

This, however, turned out to be a relatively short-lived arrangement, with the Scudo name revived for 2022 following the establishment of Stellantis in 2021.

The giant group is the result of a merger between PSA (Citroën, Peugeot, Opel/Vauxhall) and FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles).

Eric Laforge, head of Stellantis light commercial vehicles, describes the Sevel agreement as the “foundation of Stellantis”.

In a development that has taken badge engineering to a new level, the group’s medium van platform not only includes the Scudo, Dispatch and Expert but also the Opel/Vauxhall Vivaro and as the result of a third-party deal with Toyota, the Proace. The deal also covers the electric variants of these vans.

Wearing his Fiat Professional hat, Laforge says the Scudo and Ducato are among “the first born of the new stars of Stellantis”.

Fiat Professional claims it will offer customers an electric choice for all of its LCVs by 2022, with the new plug-in Doblo Cargo light van coming into the Stellantis fold this summer where it will line up alongside the Citroën e-Berlingo, Peugeot e-Partner, Vauxhall Combo-e, Toyota Proace City Electric with the ICE equivalent joining up later in the year. 

The passenger-carrying version of the Scudo will not be produced with an ICE, however, but only as the electric e-Ulysse, which can carry up to eight occupants and is targeted at airport shuttle and chauffeuring businesses.

Fiat Professional’s claim that it will market an electric version of all its vans by the end of the year is misleading in that it does not include the Fiorino city van, which will continue as a diesel-only model for a limited (though as yet unspecified) period. 

Laforge says the Fiorino will remain in the line-up for the “coming years” while Fiat Professional’s UK country manager Richard Chamberlain says the manufacturer has “a definite commitment to it [Fiorino]”, and adds it will get Euro 6E emissions accreditation later in 2022.

But the fact Laforge confirmed there will not be an electric version of the Fiorino and that it will not be resurrected for the other Stellantis brands (Citroën and Peugeot withdrew their respective rebadged Fiorino variants, the Nemo and Bipper, five years ago) means its days are numbered.

Badge engineering has obvious advantages to manufacturers in terms of pooling resources to generate cost savings but it also brings an inevitable loss of a brand’s individuality.

Aside from the Fiorino, Fiat Professional’s soon to be departed Doblo Cargo light van broke new ground in XL format by offering load-carrying capacities on a par with many medium-sized vans and also ventured into new territory with the Doblo Work Up, a compact dropside pick-up designed to operate in urban locations.

So, how will Fiat Professional distinguish the e-Scudo and Scudo from their Stellantis stablemates?

Chamberlain says a major selling point will be the composition of the dealer network, which combines more luxurious town and city-based showrooms shared with Fiat’s passenger cars with sites shared with HGV brands such as DAF and Iveco, which offer around-the-clock servicing to enable operators to minimise downtime by ensuring
their vans are back on the road during normal working hours. All Fiat Professional vans also come with the 555 Peace of Mind offer, with five years warranty, servicing and roadside assistance.

Laforge points out that Stellantis’ widely shared platforms give it the advantage of marketing national brands in particular countries, Vauxhall in the UK, Opel in Germany, Fiat Professional in Italy and both Citroën and Peugeot in France.

Fiat Professional e-Scudo

The e-Scudo comes with the choice of 50kWh or 75kWh batteries, delivering respective ranges of 142 or 205 miles. Both versions deliver power output of 100kW, the equivalent of 136hp, and we tested the van with the larger battery. As with all the electric models built on the Stellantis medium van platform, ride quality is excellent – both quiet and relaxing. If you make use of the regenerative B mode, which automatically slows the vehicle when easing off the throttle, there is rarely any need to use the footbrake, although it could stand to be even more vigilant in reducing speed. 

Three driving modes are available, with markedly different performance responses. Eco provides maximum power of 60kW and peak torque of 190Nm; this is the one to choose to preserve battery range but would not be recommended with a full load on board. Normal provides 80kW and 210Nm of torque and offers the most versatility, while Power delivers 100kW and 260Nm torque. In this mode the e-Scudo is quick off the mark and zippy to drive – but the pay off is reduced battery range. 

A quick charge to 80% capacity can be achieved in 30 minutes for the 50kWh battery and 45 minutes for the 75kWh battery, according to Fiat Professional.

The e-Scudo is up for grabs in three trim levels as a panel van, SX, Tecnico and Business, the crew van gets the latter two grades and the platform cab comes only in the entry-level SX. 

Equipment levels are decent across the board, all trims feature DAB radio with Bluetooth and hands free access plus USB and 12V sockets, for example. SX comes with a full-steel bulkhead while the bulkhead Moduwork load-through flap is introduced on Tecnico, which also gets air conditioning as standard. Business trim brings a 7in colour touchscreen with Fiat Connect and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as leather trimmings and a multi-function steering wheel. It is a disappointment though, that rear parking sensors only come as standard on Business trim.

Prices for the e-Scudo range, excluding VAT and the PiVG, which knocks off up to another £5,000, range from £33,785 to £45,970. There is a £1,185 walk up from SX to Tecnico followed by a £3,630 step to Business.

The panel van and crew van are available in two wheelbases whereas the platform cab is short wheelbase (SWB) only. Load volumes in the panel van go from 5.3m3 to 6.1m3, although an extra 0.5m3 can be added with the Moduwork system, or Magic cargo system in Fiat Professional speak.

Payloads in the electric Scudo go up to an impressive 1,225kg in the SWB version with the smaller battery, reduce slightly to 1,198 in the long-wheelbase (LWB) van with the smaller battery and are a still respectable 1,000kg in models with the larger battery. These figures are not too far short of the maximum 1,445kg payload you get with the ICE Scudo but it’s a different story when it comes to towing, where the e-Scudo can pull 1,000kg compared to the 2,500kg of its diesel sibling.

The e-Scudo features an ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems) package including automatic road sign recognition, automatic emergency braking, blind spot alert and lane departure warning and both the e-Scudo and Scudo sport Fiat Professional’s new FIAT badge on the front grille.



View The WhatVan Digital Edition