Blog: Dave LeggettNew Fiat Panda

Dave Leggett | 26 August 2003

Must say I agree 100% with Automotive News Europe's Luca Ciferri who reckons that Fiat has had a lucky escape now that it has had to change the name of its new small car from 'Gingo' (after Renault objections that it was too close to Twingo) and has chosen to keep the Panda name going. I can see the logic in wanting a new name to stress certain new product qualities, but Luca is right: the Panda name will raise a smile and Fiat Auto could do with the friendly connotations that the Panda name raises.

The newspaper's latest edition also includes plenty of coverage of Martin Leach's transfer from Ford to Fiat Auto and the thorny issue of a non-compete agreement in his contract. Does he carry in his head lots of info about Ford's small car strategy that could be helpful to Fiat? Possibly, but it seems a bit mean to strictly enforce a six-month non-compete contract. Every situation is different, but I always think that companies look a little petty when enforcing things like that. Far better to have an amicable split in which the leaver has a sense of how far he can reasonably go and how quickly, without causing massive problems for his previous employer (with whom most people want to stay on good terms). But there are limits beyond which decent people should not go. Anyone remember a certain chap by the name of Ignacio Lopez?


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