If Fiat were to bring a pickup truck to the United States, would you buy it? What if it were named Fiat Fullback?
Well, first of all, Fiat won’t bring any pickup truck to the U.S., if only because of the 25 percent “chicken tax.” Unless the pickup is made in Canada or Mexico (i.e., NAFTA), the truck is subject to a competitiveness-killing 25 percent tariff. And the Fiat Fullback pickup won’t be built in North America, of course. That’s because a Fiat Fullback is a Mitsubishi L200 with a few flourishes and different badges, and the L200 is assembled in Thailand in a Mitsubishi plant.
The Fiat Fullback, despite a name that specifically “derived from the cornerstone position in rugby and American football,” will be sold around the world as part of the Fiat Professional line, and is the first time Fiat will have a player, even if a transfer from another team, in the midsize pickup range.
The Fullback, in addition to competing with the Mitsubishi version, will face off against the Nissan Navara, Toyota Hilux, Volkswagen Amarok and a yet to be named Mercedes-Benz pickup to be built by Nissan. It’s smaller than what we in the U.S. would call a “mid-size,” if using that term for a GMC Canyon/Chevrolet Colorado pickup. The new GM trucks have a wheelbase of 128 inches for the crew cab version, while the Fullback, offered only with a crew cab, measures just 118 inches between the axles.
Still, the new Fullback will be stout, having a 2,300 pound payload rating.
The Fullback will be sold worldwide, but in Europe and the UK it will be offered with a choice of two 2.4-liter turbodiesel all-aluminum engines, with a power output of either 150 or 180 horsepower. Transmission choices are a six-speed manual gearbox or a five-speed automatic transmission with sports mode, and full four-wheel drive will be standard.
The Mitsubishi L200, with model names including Animal and Barbarian, is available now, but the Fiat Fullback won’t go on sale until late 2016. Still, you can hustle over to the Dubai International Motor Show to see the Fiat Fullback there, but unless the tariff for imported pickups is changed, don’t expect a big push for that to happen, as even the “import” pickups sold here are made here.
And anyway, we don’t see a large latent demand for the Fiat Fullback pickup. Even if it does have an All-American name.