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 $10,000 on every 500e sold.

However sales of the Leaf in the US are down five percent. 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?


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  • 224 Comments
      lasertekk
      • 2 Years Ago
      About 4:1 here today favoring the Fiat 500 overthe frog.
      arenadood
      • 2 Years Ago
      Fiat, by far, has the best commercials.
        cmcclarty
        • 2 Years Ago
        @arenadood
        Yeah nothing like putting a crack head in one of there spots.I only like Fiat is because it kept mopar alive.
      Dane Grant
      • 2 Years Ago
      If those were the only choices, I would choose the FIAT....
      minimaniac99
      • 2 Years Ago
      I just bought a Fiat 500c and it is just great. I have been getting 37.4 mpg in all city driving. Not one problem with the car and drives great. I had a 2006 Mini Cooper cabriolet and it was nothing but problems. Nasty unreliable car never again will I buy a Mini Cooper. The Fiat is 1000 % better than that Mini and gets me better MPG.
        rreed91184
        • 2 Years Ago
        @minimaniac99
        thats because your cooper was built by BMW. (granted in some ways the new minis are better than the old ones with things like working electricity and such)
      smbart1110
      • 2 Years Ago
      FIAT is right, at least pertaining to the looks of the Leaf, the Nissan is the typical ugly japanese hatchback....
      laerte.cusma
      • 2 Years Ago
      Well, simlarly to the first Priust, the Leaf seems to be purposely ugly: maybe they just lose money on every sold car like Fiat on 500e, but they don't want to admit it apparent and limit sales, and losses, by descouraging buyers...
      Jaylgo
      • 2 Years Ago
      Ugly, no, you ugly. This can be an all year thing.
      pacificoaster
      • 2 Years Ago
      I used to luv Nissan's, back in the late 80's they were the cutting edge on attractive styling, reliability. It seems that every since they had that buy-in with their French partners the styling and appearance of their vehicles have deteriated and other manufacturers have flown by, just look at Hyundai and Kia making attractive vehicles and reliable too. I still drive my 1987 Nissan hardbody pickup with design from La Jolla California design facilty, a simple and timeless appearance. I'm sorry Nissan, luv your electric vehicle efforts, but I could never buy something so ugly. Oink.
      lspensieri
      • 2 Years Ago
      I have 2 red FIAT 500. One manual, one authomatic. My hole family loves these cars. They are fun to drive, Powerfull, Agile, Confortable and head turning everywhere. Oh I almost forgot! With the manual I got as much as 46 MPG. GO FIAT! Continue to show your ITALIAN class and technology.
        thefacts22
        • 2 Years Ago
        @lspensieri
        Yes i agree ......better milage than 96% of electrics...and less complicated
      rsands2823
      • 2 Years Ago
      As my kids would say - "It takes one to know one"...
      Jared Montgomery
      • 2 Years Ago
      "Nissan sold just 8,330 Leaf's so far this year" George Kennedy, please do not use an apostrophe to indicate plural here.
        Gubbins
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jared Montgomery
        Thank you...I was about to post the same. Drives me nuts.
      michael.griggs
      • 2 Years Ago
      for the most , this is bit-h boy b.s. they are both ugly as sin
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