Fiat Professional has uncovered the new Fullback, its first mid-size pickup, at the Dubai Motor Show. It's based on the Mitsubishi L200/Triton, but don't look for it at Ram dealers in the US anytime soon.
Of all the automakers producing pickup trucks these days, even among just the Japanese automakers, Mitsubishi might not spring to mind first. But maybe it should. The Diamond-Star company has been in the game now for 36 years, selling over four million pickups around the world. These days that comes down principally to the Triton, of which it sold over a third of a million units last year alone for a total of over 1.2 million produced since its introduction in 2005. Now, after nine years on the
Mitsubishi's been having a rough time of it lately here in the United States. Last year, sales fell 44.8 percent. Ouch. Even worse, Mitsu's lone U.S. manufacturing plant in Normal, Illinois is way under capacity. How far under? Well, the Normal plant's website lists its capacity at 135,000 vehicles per year. Only thing is, back when that plant was a joint Chrysler/Mitsubishi venture it could pop out 240,000 cars per year. Last year, Normal made just 18,501 vehicles.
According to a report from Automotive News, Mitsubishi's North American CEO Shin Kurihara would like to bring over the Japanese automaker's funky little Delica van (right) and Triton pickup (above), believing that the two work-ready models may fill a desirable niche here in the States. So, why not wave a magic wand and make that happen? In a word: Chickens.
New Zealand Mitsubishi wants you to buy a Triton ute, and to lure you into doing it they're using goats -- because really, who can resist a goat? Said Mitsu's New Zealand sales and marketing manager, Peter Wilkins, "three years of drought has severely depleted sheep and beef populations, so what better time to float the goat?''
Mitsubishi has finally released its Triton "urban sports pickup" truck in the Japanese market. Already on sale in Thailand (where it's built), Europe, Australia, the Middle East, and many other global markets (but not the U.S.) the Triton has apparently been on Japanese customers' wish lists for a while.