UPDATE 2-Fiat and Mitsubishi Motors team up on new pickup
* Deal to boost Fiat's commercial vehicle models
* To help Mitsubishi maintain production levels in Thailand (Recasts, adds details, shares)
By Agnieszka Flak and Yoko Kubota
MILAN/TOKYO, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Mitsubishi Motors will produce a new pickup for Fiat from 2016 in a deal to boost the Italian carmaker's commercial vehicle sales and raise output at the Japanese company's plant in Thailand.
According to a non-binding memorandum of understanding unveiled on Friday, the companies will team up to develop and manufacture the pickup which would be supplied by Mitsubishi and based on its best-selling model, the L200.
The mid-sized pickup, a long-promised addition to Fiat's Professional line-up, is one of five new light commercial vehicles it plans to deliver as part of its ambition to boost the division's sales by 40 percent to some 600,000 cars by 2018.
Mitsubishi's L200 pickup competes around the world against models such as Toyota's Hilux, Nissan's Navara and similar-sized pickups from Ford, Isuzu, Mazda and Volkswagen, among others.
The new pickup truck is meant to help Fiat increase its share of the Latin American market and help turnaround its loss-making business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. However, it will probably do little to boost the carmaker's presence in Asia, which remains the main weak spot for the group.
It will help the Japanese automaker maintain production levels at its hard-hit plant in Thailand, where the company is facing a drop in sales and production due to a political crisis and declining demand for cars. Continuación...