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Fiat is the largest Italian automobile corporation that produces passenger and sports cars, trucks, industrial and agricultural engineering; moreover, the company owns aerospace plants. It’s headquartered in Turin, Italy.
Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino (F.I.A.T.) was established in 1899 by Giovanni Agnelli and several investors. Time for the undertaking couldn’t be more appropriate: in 1903, taxes on imported steel were abolished. It led to rapid expansion of production – there taxis, trucks, and buses as well as ship and aircraft engines started to be made.
Fiat cars not only participated in motor races, they overcame Storero, Nazzaro, Miller, and Lancia autos several times. In 1911, the Fiat S61 made the automaker famous in Europe winning the Grand Prix de France.
Giovanno Agnelli was one of the first automakers to realize the importance of switching from handicraft industry to mass production. Besides, he made a decision to develop a style that would make his company unique. Guided by such a philosophy, they built the Tipo Zero in 1912.
Can we say that the design of the Tipo Zero was special and unusual? No, it looked like cars of other automakers of those days. Agnelli understood it perfectly well that’s why he asked to design six different radiator shells for the car. By the early 20s, Fiat became the largest automobile manufacturer in Italy.
In 1936, the Fiat 500 or the Topolino, the tiniest mass-produced auto in the world of the time, was rolled out. It was a two-seater; capacity of its engine was 569 cm3.
From the 40s till the 90s
During the WWII, Fiat factories were ruined and consequently nationalized, when Italy was freed. At that time, a number of new cars were turned out: the 1100 B, the 1500 D, the 500 C, the 1100 E, and the 1500 E.
In the early 50s, the 1400, a model with a monocoque body, was produced. It was the first Italian car that was available in a diesel version, too. Half a decade later, the 600 and the 500 models changed lives of average Italians – a reliable, comfortable, high-quality, and, what’s more, affordable auto could be bought. There were millions of these cars produced, which became symbol of the Italian economic miracle.
A turning point in Fiat’s history was the Uno model launch. It was so special because it offered a range of innovations in electronics, engine’s construction, alternative materials usage, etc. The Uno was the most popular car on the Apennine Peninsula for more than a decade. It was substituted for the Punto in 1993 but only on the Italian conveyor. Fiat’s factories in Poland, Egypt, and Turkey have made the Uno up to the present.
Another successful model was the Tipo, delivered in 1989. Due to advanced technologies applied in it, the car became the Car of the Year.
Approaching the New Millennium
Since that time, Fiat made its fanciers glad almost each year. The Tempra, produced in 1990, was followed by the Fiat 500 in 1991. In 1993, the Punto and the Fiat Coupé were rolled out. With the Ulysse (1994), the company entered a new for it market of minivans. In 1995, the Barchetta, the Brava and the Bravo premiered. 1996 saw the Marea and the Marea WE production and 1997 – the Palio launch. In 1998, the Seicento, a perfect car for driving in the city, and Multipla, a highly versatile car, were introduced.
Fiat entered the new millennium with the Doblò, a multi-functional auto designed for freight transportation. Then, there came the Stilo, the Qubo, the 500 X City Look, the 500 X Off-Road Look, and modernized versions of the Multipla, the Ulysee, the Punto, the Barchetta, and the Panda.
In 2000, Fiat established joint ventures with General Motors. At the moment, GM has a 20% stake at Fiat while Fiat acquired 6% of GM. Their cooperation resulted in the GM Fiat Small platform and the Fiat-GM Powertrain.
Five years later, Fiat set up an alliance with Ford. Eventually, it led to the Ford Ka and the Fiat 500 manufacture.
In 2012, Fiat started to collaborate with Mazda with the aim to construct a rear wheel drive roadster for Mazda and Alfa Romeo.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
Since 2014, Fiat has been succeeded by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), an Italian-American multinational automaker, which is the 7th largest in the world at the moment.
FCA has two main subsidiaries which are FCA Italy (former Fiat Group Automobiles) and FCA US (former Chrysler Group LLC). FCA owns such world-famous brands as Alfa Romeo, Jeep, Lancia, Ferrari, Maserati, Dodge, Abarth, Mopar, SRT, Ram Trucks, Comau, Magneti Marelli, and Teksid.