The Pope may be the Pope but he still needs to get around, which is why there have been so many additions to the Vatican motor pool for us to report on. His predecessor John Paul II may have received a Ferrari Enzo, but after selling his Volkswagen Golf, Benedict XVI has added a Volvo XC90, a BMW X5, a Volkswagen Phaeton W12, and a custom Mercedes G-Class to his serene stable. And now he can add one more, as Fiat has provided the Holy Father with a specially-equipped Ducato Panorama van for his tour of the earthquake-stricken region of Abruzzo in Italy, which also happens to be where the Ducato is made in a joint venture with PSA-Peugeot-Citroen.
The van is painted plain white with the livery of the Italian Civil Defence administration, which is managing the disaster relief, while inside the papal transport has been fitted with white leather sofas for His Holiness and his entourage. The Pope will be riding around Abruzzo to tour the tent camps housing the refugees, a local bassilica damaged by the disaster, and the coordinating headquarters for the relief efforts. Follow the jump for more detials in Fiat's press release, and click on the thumbnails below to view the holy roller in high resolution.
[Source: Fiat] PRESS RELEASE
From Abruzzo a special Fiat Ducato for the visit of the Holy Father
The vehicle to be used by Pope Benedict XVI today for his visit to the areas hit by the earthquake was produced in the largest factory in Abruzzo.
The special version of the Ducato Panorama, manufactured at the Sevel Val di Sangro plant located around one hundred kilometres from L'Aquila, has been provided by Fiat to the Civil Defence for the Pope's transportation.
This initiative continues the collaboration initiated between various Fiat Group companies and the Civil Defence in the first phase of the disaster relief effort to enable a prompt and effective response to various needs arising.
The Ducato will be used to transport the Holy Father to various sites which are symbolic of the recent tragedy in Abruzzo: the tent camp in Onna, the Basilica of Collemaggio, the ruins of the student dormitory and finally the academy of the Guardia di Finanza in Coppito, which is serving as headquarters for the disaster relief effort.
This one-of-a-kind vehicle was specially-equipped for the occasion: A white exterior featuring the insignia of the Civil Defence and a white leather-upholstered interior. This seven seat vehicle (including five seats in the rear in a divan/lounge-style configuration) is equipped with rear-view camera, side footboard and the most advanced systems for safety and low environmental impact.
Sevel, the 50/50 joint venture between Fiat Group and PSA-Peugeot Citroën, began its activities in 1981 and, with 3.8 million vehicles produced to date and nearly six thousand employees, is the largest industrial facility in the Region.
Rome-Turin, 28 April 2009