Not satisfied with it's test of the Chrysler faithful, Fiat has delivered a customized Ducato van to the Papal motorpool for use in touring parts of the Italian countryside destroyed by the recent earthquake.
From the outside, the Ducato appears to be any other run-of-the-mill Italian Civil Defense Force vehicle, wearing the proper paint job to fit right in, but inside it's outfitted for Pope Benedict XVI and his phalanx of minders. Instead of narrow and industrious rows of bench seats, the Ducato has white leather couches set up lounge-style, extra deep running boards for easier access, and a rear view camera.
The vehicle will be used to visit the zones affected by the devastating April 6th earthquake in Italy's mountainous Abruzzo region, which also happens to be the area where the Ducato is built.
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.