Fiat successfully sues Chinese automaker for Panda clone

Chinese auto manufacturer Great Wall Motor has been banned from importing its Gwperi minicar into Europe, after an Italian court ruling said the car's styling is too similar to Fiat's Panda. The ruling went as far as saying "the [Gwperi] does not look like a different car but is a Panda with a different front end."

The Turin court ruled Great Wall will have to pay Fiat a 15,000 euro fine for the first Gwperi imported into Europe and 50,000 euros for every subsequent car that is imported, as per recent Automotive News reports. Fiat's intention to sue Great Wall in order to stop the sale of the car in China and Europe first became known in December of 2006, when Great Wall released a concept of the car, then known simply as Peri.

The car's sale in Europe by Italian importer Eurasia Motors has been postponed until the court decision was made, but the car went on sale in China earlier this year, where a court case is still pending. Great Wall lawyers say they intend to appeal the Italian court's decision.

Great Wall also makes SUVs and trucks that bear some resemblance to new and old vehicles from the likes of Toyota, Nissan and Isuzu.

Closer to home, Chinese automaker Chery motors was sued by automotive entrepreneur Malcom Bricklin for different questionable business practices.