Fiat Scudo voted International Van of the Year 2008
Filed under: News
The Fiat Scudo has just been voted International Van of the Year 2008 – scoring 108 out of a possible 140 points – by a panel of journalists from 20 European nations who specialise in light commercial vehicles. The prestigious accolade was presented by panel chairman Pieter Wieman to Fiat Professional CEO, Franco Miniero, at the opening of The European Road Transport Show 2007 in Amsterdam today.
Developed as part of a long term partnership between Fiat and PSA and built in the French Sevel Nord plant at Valenciennes, the Fiat Scudo is designed to respond to today’s urban and intercity goods transport needs in Europe. The new van reconciles car-like performance, agility and comfort with the load capacity, ease of loading and unloading, reliability and productivity of a light commercial vehicle.
The International Van of the Year jury panel was particularly impressed by the mechanicals of the vehicle, which were also conceived with passenger transport versions in mind. So the suspension is designed to offer exceptional comfort even when the vehicle is empty, in addition to superior agility, handling, driveability, dynamics and safety. The bodyshell incorporates differentiated rigidity zones; there’s a new braking system employing disc brakes all-round, ABS, EBD and a driver side airbag (standard throughout the range). Additionally, depending on the market and version, the Scudo is offered with ESP complete with ASR, front passenger airbag, side bags, window bags and an anti-theft system for the vehicle and load as standard or as optional features.
This Award acknowledges the many advances brought to the commercial vehicle sector by the Scudo, such as innovative optional pneumatic rear suspension which, at a competitive price, offers two significant advantages: it allows the vehicle to enter public multi-storey car parks, (by lowering the total height to under 1.90 metres), and facilitates loading and unloading (with a load sill height of just 49 cm).
The range also includes long wheelbase and raised roof versions to cater for a wide spectrum of professional applications, and all vans with a divider panel are available with an innovative central storage compartment in the cab ceiling which is accessible from the load bay. This ‘tunnel’ lets tradesmen (electricians, plumbers, etc.) make use of almost the full length of the vehicle.
The jury also remarked on the clever solutions adopted to facilitate loading and unloading: with extra-wide side and rear doors, very low load sill heights and a square, rationally laid out load bay.
The judges also commended the Scudo’s low fuel consumption and running costs. All engines are Euro 4 compliant, offering excellent in-gear pick-up and flexibility, while the two 2.0 MultiJet turbodiesel units are mated to 6-speed gearboxes.
So, the Scudo is the right answer for a multitude of applications and jobs, with an extensive range of goods transport versions, passenger transport versions and base versions for conversion and custom building, available with: two wheelbases (3.00 m short wheelbase and 3.12 m long wheelbase); two external lengths (4.80 and 5.13 metres); two external heights (Standard: 1.89 m with pneumatic suspension and 1.94 m with conventional spring suspension – High: 2.20 m pneumatic suspension and 2.28 m with conventional spring suspension); and two load bay lengths (2.25 and 2.58 m). Internal width is 1.60 m; width between wheel arches 1.25 m; internal height 1.45 and 1.75 m respectively with standard and raised roof; 5 m3, 6 m3 or 7 m3 load capacity, depending on the version; and load sill height 56 cm (with conventional spring suspension) or 49 cm (with pneumatic suspension).
In addition to the van versions, the new Scudo range also includes a wide choice of passenger transport versions (Combi and Panorama) in two different specification levels for different applications and customers. The Combi is the ideal solution for the transport of work teams and their respective tools; while the Panorama Family is intended for both large families demanding the comfort and style of an MPV, and for people with active outdoor pursuits.
The prestigious International Van of the Year 2008 award is confirmation of new Scudo’s success in Europe. Approximately 30,000 orders were received during the first nine months of 2007, compared with 16,500 for the previous model during the same period in the previous year (+82%). The results seen in all major markets have been very encouraging: Italy (8,500 orders), France (4,350), Spain (3,650) Germany (3,600) and U.K. (3,300). The popularity of the Scudo has grown strongly in these markets, its market share increasing from 5.4% to 7.8%. Sales of passenger transport versions are also up, and they now account for 35% of sales against just 23% for the previous year.