It’s a strange name isn’t it? Anyone who has watched real-world giant pandas for any length of time will come away
astonished that they’re not extinct. Sure they look all cute and cuddly but they’re also clumsy, often helpless and have a ridiculous diet.

They’re bears, for heaven’s sake, with a digestion set up for eating meat, yet they eat only bamboo shoots, which have low nutritional value and the pandas aren’t good at extracting even that. So they have to eat up to 38kg of bamboo shoots and leaves a day. It doesn’t leave a lot of time for personal development or musings on the meaning of life. Plus they have a lot of bulk to keep fed, about the same size as an American black bear. Standing on its back feet it would loom over you, weighing in at around 250lb (113kg ). And it’s the national symbol of China. There, it’s known as ‘GuoBao’ or ‘national heirloom’, something that’s usually priceless and fragile.

So when Fiat launched its cute little new vehicle you have to wonder what thought process led to the name Panda. And yet here we are, celebrating 40 years of the Fiat Panda 4×4. That’s slightly longer, by the way, than any panda has lived, in the wild or in captivity.

Read the full article in the March issue

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