Driver next to a Fiat Ducato

Fiat Ducato is the "work companion" of the Brazilian entrepreneur

Light commercial van is the option for anyone selling ice cream to lingerie

April 15, 2019 - The history of the Fiat Ducato in Brazil cannot be told only from the (respectable) numbers on the market that the van has accumulated since it arrived in the country in 1998. In its 21 years of history, the model has been collecting experiences among consumers, who saw the commercial vehicle as an opportunity to thrive in their business. This was the case of the businesswoman Kelly Saturno, who transformed a Ducato Ambulance into her mobile store in Paraná.

"My fiancé and I had the idea of setting up a clothing boutique and we decided that a mobile store would be the best solution, because it would attract a lot of attention," she says. "We lived in the city of Cascavel and I found on the Internet in Jacarezinho, about 500 km from where I live, an ambulance already out of service, but still running. We negotiated and got our Ducato 2001, which we affectionately named Clotilde.

"The transformation of the model took five months. “We bought it in September of last year and opened our Fashion Truck in February. We took out the stickers, adjusted the paint, removed the rotating beacon light and ambulance supplies, checked the engine, replaced the tires, darkened the windows and took it to the carpenter to have the furnishings made. Then, the external labels were put in place", explains the entrepreneur and driver of the" Mobile Store".

"I practically do everything in the store: I set up visits with my customers driving over to their homes" she says. "In the beginning, it was a challenge because I'm 22 years old and had only driven small cars. In a short time, apprehension turned into fun because I find this van much more fun and easy to drive than the lower cars we have. The high position behind the wheel gives me greater confidence and a broader view of everything. Besides, I love driving!

"According to Kelly, the fact that she is a woman behind the wheel of a Ducato ends up attracting many curious gazes, a fact that she deals with enthusiasm and sees it as way of marketing her business even more. “Other drivers comment 'look at the girl driving a van'. They are impressed and I just get a kick out of it".

The choice for aFiat Ducato as a business partner was also motivated by the great reputation of the car's mechanical set. "Our mechanic told us that the best engine is that of the Ducato, whether it be in its performance, fuel consumption or the low repair costs, compared to other competing models", says Kelly, who is already thinking of increasing her fleet. "Business is going very well, so I plan to have another Ducato as a partner for Clotilde soon".

 Kelly Saturno with its Fiat Ducato transformed into a shop.

In São Paulo, another entrepreneur who also made a Fiat Ducato his working partner was the school bus driver Clodoaldo Silva Santos, 45 years old. "I bought my van in 2008, brand new, and have not parted with it since. I confess that I really enjoyed the design of the new generation of Ducatos, launched last year", he says, before saying:" but there is not one like mine!"

With 355,000 kilometers registered on the pedometer and many children transported in 11 years of service, he says that the passion for the model is also supported by Cartesian reasons. "My Ducato has only given me joy. It transports the children from the school where I work with ample space and comfort, has a very good ergonomic design that does not make me tired behind the wheel, and the fact that it's a partner that doesn't give me any problems. I've never had any unforeseen event; I just do the routine maintenance".

If one day I think about changing models, Clodoaldo guarantees that there will be no shortage of buyers for his Fiat Ducato. "My mechanic is the first one who offered to buy it. But I always say that I have no plans to sell it. It's my great companion".

The history of the Fiat Ducato in Europe began in October 1981, with its production in Val di Sangro, Italy. At the time, the model became the first of its segment to adopt a transverse engine, front-wheel drive and a front fuel tank. With ample rear space and a flat, low loading platform, the light commercial vehicle became a sales hit.

Its arrival in Brazil happened in 1998, imported on its second generation, equipped with a 2.5 engine of 85 hp and manual five speed gearbox. In 2000, the model came to be produced in Sete Lagoas (MG), with the options of a 2.8 engine aspirated and turbo engines. The first restyling in Brazil was done in 2006, in conjunction with a new electronic engine management to deliver more power.

In 2009, the great novelty of the Fiat Ducato was the adoption of the 2.3 Multijet engine with 127 hp. In 2016, the van was no longer produced in the country and since last year, in its most recent generation, began to be imported from Mexico with a 2.3-liter turbo diesel with 130 hp and six-speed gearbox. Currently, the Ducato is sold in 80 countries and has already had more than ten thousand options of configurations, proving its great versatility.

In the last edition of the São Paulo Motor Show in November, a Fiat Ducato transformed into an ice cream parlor was one of the attractions of the event (below), not only for having distributed ice cream, but for confirming the multi-options that consumers can have with the vehicle.

 A Fiat Ducato transformed into an ice cream parlor.

Words: Leandro Álvares

Pictures: Marketing

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