Shades of the United Autoworkers Union not allowing “foreign” cars—in an increasingly internationalization of the auto industry a truly difficult thing to define—in any of its parking lots: Fiat wrapped non-Fiat cars owned by employees parked outside its factories in clear plastic with the message that the driver is breaking the company’s heart.
“To see you with another one broke our hearts … but we keep thinking of you,” along with an emblem of a broken heart, adorned the bags.
Not surprisingly, Fiat has taken some blowback on the move.
The International Business Times reports that what Fiat calls an “unconventional marketing strategy” has the metalworker’s union Fiom complaining of Fiat’s coercion and reaching into its employees private lives.
The company, however, defended its actions as a way for the workers to support their own jobs.
An unnamed Fiat source told IBT, “We think that in the present market situation, when the group is giving all it can to turn the tide, each employee with a sense of responsibility could buy a vehicle of the group and thus help to actively promote the company he works for and supports the employment of his colleagues.”
IBT reports that Fiom representative at Mirafiori, Bruno Ieraci told La Repubblica newspaper. “Singling out workers who don’t own a Fiat car is an act of force and pushiness. Fiat has always believed it owns their [workers’] lives and takes the liberty to act as it pleases towards them.”
Indeed, some might take Fiat’s statement as being more like five knuckles cracking, “Hey, nice little car you’ve got there. It would be a shame if anything happened to it…”
It might be better, Fiat, if the next time your p.r. firm comes up with a stunt this clever, you’d just, well, bag it.