Forward contracts for popcorn skyrocketed at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the Tokyo Commodity Exchange and other world markets after managers of Fiat and Nissan traded barbs about beauty.
Matt Davis, head of Fiat brand product marketing, hit first.
Clearly referring to Nissan’s Leaf, Davis said: “Let’s be honest, ugliness is probably one of the worst forms of pollution.”
Of course, Fiat does not want to be known as an ecological criminal, hence, said Davis to Bloomberg: “The Fiat 500e proves that you do not have to give up on good looks to deliver an electric car.” Laughter among reporters assembled in Auburn Hills.
Today, Nissan hit back with gusto.
“Let’s face it, Fiat has not shied away from controversial styling themselves,” Nissan’s head of global marketing communications Simon Sproule told Hans Greimel of Automotive News [sub] today. “Many would describe many of their products as visual pollution. Take a long, hard look at the Fiat Doblo.”
Once Sproule, a Brit, and usually a gentleman, (he joined Nissan from Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover) was on a roll, he told Greimel that unlike the Fiat EV, the Leaf is a “fully functioning” car for families and daily use.
Then, he dispensed one of the biggest insult in the business, namely that the Fiat 500e is a quota car, and that the Italians don’t really mean it.
He told Greimel that Fiat is simply offering a me-too car to appease regulators. “They chose the smallest vehicle in their range with the least amount of passenger functionality,” Sproule said. “I don’t think they have the credibility or the hardware to stand behind these kind of statements. Either you’re committed to it or not.”
Good reporter as he is, Greimel immediately called Fiat in Turin, where a spokesman declined comment. They are probably thinking of choice words. Stay tuned.