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Poll: Fiat Panda vs. GW Peri

Tue, 12 Aug 2008

In China it may be considered flattery to copy another car company's design. In the European Union however, this is frowned upon.

Last month a court in Italy ruled that the Great Wall Peri could not be sold in Europe as it was too similar to the Panda built by Fiat. Fiat sued Great Wall both in Italy and in China, and on July 16 the Italian court ruled in favor of Fiat, citing: "the [GW Peri] doesn't look like a different car but is a [Fiat] Panda with a different front end."

As a result of the ruling Great Wall would be required to pay a €15,000 fine for the first GW Peri imported into Europe, with each subsequent import costing the Chinese automaker €50,000.

This is not without precedent. Germany banned sales of the Shuanghuan CEO in June, stating that the car infringed on BMW's design rights. BMW claimed the SUV closely resembled its own X5 SUV and the court supported their claim.

Fiat was not so lucky in China however.

On July 21, the Shijiazhuang Intermediate People's Court established noticeable differences between the Panda and the GW Peri and rejected Fiat's claim that Great Wall had breached patents involving the Italian automaker's Panda model. The court also ordered Fiat to pay 8,800 yuan ($1,291) in legal expenses.

Great Wall is now planning to appeal the decision made by the Italian court banning the sale of the Peri in the European Union.

So what are your thoughts? Is the GW Peri different enough, or is it a blatent copy of the Fiat Panda? Have your say in the Forums section.

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By Eric Gallina