Italy’s truckers strike hits Fiat Panda launch

Article by Christian A., on March 25, 2012

A truckers' strike in Turin has had a big impact on the vehicle distribution in Italy, hampering Fiat’s launch of its crucial new-generation Panda minicar. Fiat’s factory in Pomigliano d'Arco, near Naples, will halt the production of the Panda on March 26 and 27. There was also no Panda output on March 16-19. A spokesman told Automotive News Europe that the lost volume due to these stoppages amounted to about 2,800 units.

Market researcher JATO Dynamics said that the Panda is Fiat's topselling car with a volume of 30,705 units after two months. Fiat expected the new Panda to give it a boost this year. Initially, the demand had been strong.

Fiat said that 40,000 dealer orders for the new minicar have been received since its debut in late January. The strike, which began Feb. 20 in protest of the Italian government's austerity measures and the rising fuel prices, has made transporting these cars to dealers an almost impossible task. Fiat said that due to the strike, its total production in Italy fell by 20,000 vehicles.

Fiat anticipates that its market share in Europe will drop to 6.5 percent in March from 7.2 percent in February. In a statement, Fiat said there’s no end seen yet for the strike and that the situation is getting worse as there’s more violence and aggression.

In an interview by Automotive News Europe, Filippo Pavan Bernacchi, president of Rome-based Italian dealer association Federauto, said that strikers are even preventing dealers who have their own car haulers from picking up cars that have already been sold.

Fiat Panda is the embodiment of substance, function, and practicality. It also carries a concept of beauty that is connected to making all of these qualities perceptible and visible, and this concept is pursued throughout the Panda’s design procedure. The Fiat Panda, which is now in its third generation, presents an improvement in each element, both functionally and when it comes to attention to detail. This resulted to a great overall harmony, thanks to the application of signs that are consistent with one another, thereby also increasing usability as well as pleasing design values.

The vehicle’s design sets out to produce true sentimental value between the person using it and the car, so as to make everyday driving with the new Panda a rewarding experience. Centro Stile Fiat designers have put themselves in the place of customers in order to understand how the Panda could better portray utility while also having a bolder personality. In the end, they came up with a car that’s brimming in value and sparkling personality, one that combines amazing quality in every detail with the outstanding reputation of one timeless model.

Fiat’s new Panda expresses freshness and appeal, aside from strong "Italian style," therefore making the car instantly recognizable at first glance. This is thanks to a few "anthropomorphic" traits in its front. Moreover, the car’s slightly convex bonnet joins the elegant horizontal grille as well as new front headlamps with rounded shape, bringing to mind a smiling face that extends a light-hearted and cheerful invitation to take it out for a spin.

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