A verbal stoush has erupted between Fiat and Nissan, with executives from both company’s trading blows over the styling and functionality of their cars.

The war of words started at the unveiling of the electric Fiat 500e (pictured top) at last month’s Los Angeles auto show when the Italian company’s head of product marketing, Matt Davis, fired a shot at the design of the Nissan Leaf.

“Let’s be honest, ugliness is probably one of the worst forms of pollution,” Davis told Bloomberg.

“The Fiat 500e proves that you do not have to give up on good looks to deliver an electric car.”

Unprepared to simply cop the criticism on the chin, Nissan head of global marketing Simon Sproule returned fire, telling industry journal Automotive News Europe that Fiat has not exactly shied away from “controversial styling” in recent years.

“Many would describe many of their products as visual pollution,” Sproule said. “Take a long, hard look at the Fiat Doblo (below).”

Sproule also took a shot at the 500e – a car designed specifically to meet California’s emissions regulations that will not be sold in Europe.

“They chose the smallest vehicle in their range with the least amount of passenger functionality.

“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.”

A Fiat spokesperson declined to comment in response to Sproule’s remarks, potentially signifying a ceasefire between the two.

  • F1orce

    Fiat 500e?

    Hardly a fashion statement..

  • Frostie

    “Many would describe many of their products as visual pollution,” Sproule said. “Take a long, hard look at the Fiat Doblo (below).”

    Mate, I’m trying NOT to look at it.

  • AndyGF

    Orange Walrus…

    • zej

       more like a radioactive hamster undergoing hypnosis.

  • Dave W

    I’ve never been a fan of Fiat badged cars. That said, I think the Leaf is pretty fugly as well. Still… No reason to start sh!t up like that, especially when Fiat’s own product also falls into the fugly category.

    • Igomi Watabi

      I know I’m being pernickety, but what do you mean by “Fiat badged”?

      • Dave W

        Just trying to be precise. Ferrari is part of Fiat too and some people are quite pedantic.

        • Igomi Watabi

          so, your saying “FIAT-badged FIATs”, as opposed to “Ferrari-baged FIATs” or “ALFA Romeo-badged FIATs”? I dunno, a little too precise, I reckon. I think people know when you say FIAT, you mean FIAT. It’s kind of like saying “Volkswagen badged cars”. I’m just sayin’

  • http://www.ooyyo.com.au/ Brian L. Gilman

    I have to admit Fiat has been lacking with its aesthetics for a while. They have produced some pretty ugly cars. I’m sure that they’re all pretty functional, just a matter of getting past the looks.

  • Luke Brinsmead

    Fiat has also produced a few uglies. I guess ther’re just bitter that Italians invented electricity but have been left behind for powering electric cars of now.

  • Aus_poppa

    The Fiat Multipla – made between 1998 and 2010 – was …challenging. But then Nissan gave us the underwhelming Tiida, so the honours are probably pretty even.

  • Dave S

    Sounds like Nissan is at it again. First they try to target Porsche and now FIAT.

    • Dave W

      Looks like someone forgot to read the article before making a comment…

  • Norm

    Talk about a scrap over nothing. Renault Zoe and the Teslas have them both for looks in terms of current EV design. 

    BMW are doing some nice design work in EVs too.

    500e is all retro and that’s fine. I’ll have a Citroen eDS23 Pallas please…:)

    The Leaf is…err…unique. At least it’s bold. The front is a bit like a road going model of the TGV train. The interior is really nice place to be. 

    The mob that didn’t deliver anything in terms of look were Mitsu with the iMiev. Despite a well sorted drivetrain it looks toyish and feels flimsy. Not sure why they didn’t just put the drivetrain in the Colt?

    Their iMiev Sports concept looked great though.

    Anyway – looks shmooks. Price and battery tech is where that battle needs to be won.

  • Sturmgewehr

    the nissan leaf RC actually looks decent, they should make a road going nismo leaf RC. fiat dont appeal to me at all, might be the faciest axis power look they have about them, ie: citroen 2cv

  • The Real Wile E

    I think all electric cars should look like aliens that way the bastards can’t sneak up on you.

  • Steven

    I aggree! all electric cars should look weird. I certainly would be disapointed if i saw a 370z and then found out it had NO engine.
    Fiat are in no place to comment on a nissan. The people designing the Fiats must have theyre eyes closed

  • Domthegood2

    The most beautiful cars are fiats,other company’s just copied of them, the doblo is an exception.