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LA Auto Show

WHEN NOV 21-30, 2014 WHERE LA Convention Center, Los Angeles, CA URL www.laautoshow.com

Tensions flare between Nissan and Fiat

Posted Dec 6th 2012 6:03PM

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At the 2012 LA Auto Show, Fiat brand chief and recently crowned marketing genius, Olivier François, attempted to distance the Fiat 500e from other electric vehicles, asking rhetorically, "Isn't ugliness the worst kind of pollution?" Nissan has apparently taken issue with these comments, feeling slighted for what it considers digs at the Leaf's styling. In a recent interview with Automotive News, Nissan's marketing chief Simon Sproule shot back, "Let's face it, Fiat has not shied away from controversial styling themselves," he continued, "many would describe many of their products as visual pollution." Ouch.

Sproule says that while the 500e is a "me-too" product, made only to appease US emissions regulations, the Leaf is a serious effort at producing an EV. The Nissan marketing boss points out that the Japanese automaker has invested billions in EV development and production facilities, while Fiat will lose around $10,000 on every 500e sold.

However sales of the Leaf in the US are down five per cent. Nissan sold just 8,330 Leaf's so far this year, but Sproule contends that it has less to do with styling, and more with the charging infrastructure. Sproule also thinks that Nissan hit a balance between styling and practicality with the Leaf: "It's still very recognizable as a five-seat hatchback, fully functioning, absolutely competitive with the packaging of the Golf of any other mainstream vehicle." For a segment where efficiency is king, isn't that what matters most?

Related Gallery2011 Nissan Leaf: First Drive

Related Gallery2013 Fiat 500e

Fiat Debuts at LA Auto Show 2012

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4 Comments

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GTR

Oh yeah, sorry cant forget the cube either

December 07 2012 at 9:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
GTR

SO is the new altima, and new sentra, and juke. I swear they hired a new designer in 2007, either that or they are all smoking some really bad drugs

December 07 2012 at 9:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
GTR

Good, the leaf is really ugly!!

December 07 2012 at 9:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dieter Manero

Well the Leaf is pretty ugly, almost in the same like as the Pruis. Wouldn't be caught dead in one. Now the Karma and Telsa, I'd sell my soul for one.

December 06 2012 at 6:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply