In another case which should set a precedence for Chinese manufacturers attempting to import cloned cars into Western markets, an Italian court ruled this week that the Chinese minicar produced by Chinese automaker Great Wall is banned from Europe.

Great Wall Peri minicar

The car in questions is the Great Wall Peri minicar (pictured above), which to the untrained eye, looks nearly identical to the Fiat Panda, Europe's best selling minicar.

The Italian giant began legal action against Great Wall both in Italy and in China. The Italian court ruled that "the (GWPeri) doesn't look like a different car but is a (Fiat) Panda with a different front end." The court also charged Great Wall a 15,000-euro fine for the first GWPeri imported in Europe. Any further violations will cost 50,000 euros per imported car.

Fiat Panda

The case is far from over however, lawyers for Great Wall quickly noted the company will appeal the Turin court decision.

Closer to home, an outcome in a Chinese court is still pending. Fiat doesn't sell the Panda in China, which makes it difficult for the manufacture to have the car pulled off the market. Nonetheless Fiat has strong alliances with both the Chinese government and other Chinese automakers.

Meanwhile, chinese cars are only months away from hitting our shores. Ateco, distributors of such prestige brands as Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Ferrari and Maserati are in charge of the operation. More information on that can be found here.