'Day of joy' for Agnelli family as new Fiat Panda is unveiled

By Attracta Mooney

Pandas have been making headlines a lot recently, thanks to China and Scotland joining forces to bring some of the cuddly-looking creatures to Edinburgh zoo. Now an entirely different type of panda – the Fiat Panda – has caught the attention of the press after the Italian carmaker unveiled the latest model.

The compact city car boasts four airbags, ABS and daytime running lights as standard, as well as its well-regarded two-cylinder TwinAir engine.

But the path to the new model wasn’t simple for the family business, which is controlled by the Agnelli family. Workers at the plant in Pomigliano, a small town in southern Italy, where the car was unveiled had to accept tougher contracts to keep their jobs back in 2008, when production at the plant almost shuddered to a halt.

With the new car, dubbed the Panda made in Pomigliano, to showcase and workers with jobs, John Elkann, heir of the Agnelli family and Fiat’s president, called it a “day of joy”, according to Agence France-Presse.

But that didn’t stop some union protesters from making it clear they weren’t impressed with the company, which signed a controversial deal with the majority of Italy’s unions earlier this week. The “flexible” labour contracts will see additional shifts and shorter breaks for all 86,000 Fiat workers in the European country.