Amongst the many adjectives and superlatives we’d use to describe a truly great PR practitioner we would almost certainly have to include the words ‘quick-thinking’, ‘crafty’ and ‘opportunistic’ near the very top of our list.

And nothing captures the essence of precisely what we mean more than the cunning PR minds at Fiat Group’s Swedish headquarters in Stockholm, who spotted an opportunity to get one up on rival car manufacturer VW based a few miles away.

When Fiat staff noticed a Google Street View car doing the rounds outside its main offices in the northern outskirts of the Swedish capital it promptly dispatched a shiny new red Fiat 500 to Volkswagen’s headquarters 45 minutes away.

And just in the nick of time, as Google’s specially equipped car arrived in the area to capture the latest images for its panoramic street exploration tool, a Fiat worker managed to station the car directly under the Volkswagen sign at the entrance doors to company’s HQ.

The car then quickly made off once Google’s camera vehicle had covered the area, leaving the Volkswagen headquarters with the embarrassment of becoming a virtual Fiat car showroom to anyone checking out the neighbourhood using Google Street View.

Once the new image data had gone online Fiat then milked its accomplishment for all it could get by putting out its story to the worldwide media, who duly obliged by giving the company’s photobombing caper the widespread coverage it deserved.

The German manufacturer will now have to put up with the indignity of showcasing one of its rival’s best-selling models for at least a year until the next time Google decides to survey the area.

But in the meantime, Fiat can bask in the reflected PR glory of an Italian Job that surely even Michael Caine would be proud of.