Italian car manufacturer Fiat Wraps Up vehicles of Unfaithful Employees
Non-Fiat vehicles parked at Fiat plants in Pomigiano, Mirafiori and Melfi were wrapped up in a plastic sheetTwitter/@geonelroma

Employees of Italian automaker Fiat who drove a non-Fiat vehicle to work had it wrapped up in plastic sheets as part of a marketing stunt, which was severely criticised by unions.

A broken heart and a message reading: "To see you with another one broke our hearts ... but we keep thinking of you", was stamped on see-through sheets that covered competitor's cars parked outside the Fiat manufacturing plant in Pomigiano D'Arco, near Naples, southern Italy.

'Unfaithful' workers were similarly targeted at the production sites of Mirafiori and Melfi, and promised a 26% discount if they purchased a Fiat car.

Fiat described the campaign conceived by Turin's communication agency So Simple as an unconventional marketing strategy.

The car manufacturer was however accused by metalworker's union Fiom of intruding into its employees private lives and putting them under undue pressure.

"Singling out workers who don't own a Fiat car is an act of force and pushiness," Fiom representative at Mirafiori, Bruno Ieraci told La Repubblica newspaper. "Fiat has always believed it owns their [workers'] lives and takes the liberty to act as it pleases towards them."

Fiat, whose marques include Lancia, Alfa Romeo, Ferrari and Maserati and Chrysler, refused to comment on Ieraci's criticism.

A source at Fiat however dismissed the controversy as trivial saying the company was simply trying to support car sales.

"We believe that a company's first testimonial is who works there," the source told IBTimes UK.

"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."

In March Fiat group CEO Sergio Marchionne said the company was aiming to produce 6 million vehicles by 2018, some 1.5 million more than 2014.