Fiat History

Fiat Logo

Fiat has held a leading role in the automotive industry since its inception in 1899, at the dawn of Italian industrialization. From the moment they first appeared on the market, Fiat products, today ranging well beyond automobiles, have been extensively developed and recognized worldwide. Its logo has become a great status symbol due to a history of the superior cars the Company produces and the prestige of its history and tradition.

 

Fiat 1899 to 1911

The charter of Societa Anonima Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino or Fiat, was signed on July 11, 1899. Giovanni Agnelli was on the Board of Directors, but quickly distinguished himself as a the Company's innovator. He was determined Fiat would be highly successful and had great strategic vision and because of these qualities, he became Managing Director of Fiat in 1902.

Fiat's First Factories and Races

In 1900, the first Fiat factory opened in Carso Dante and with a workforce of 150 people. Fiat saw 24 cars roll off the assembly line that first year, including the Company's first model, the 3 ½ CV. By 1904, a Fiat logo had been designed as an oval with a blue background. When Italy hosted the first Car Tour of the country, nine Fiats crossed the finish line. By 1902, driver Vincenzo Lancia won the Sassi-Superga uphill race in the famous Fiat 24 hp model. Giovanni Agnelli, President of Fiat represented the Company on the racetrack, driving an 8 hp Fiat in the second Italian Car Tour and set a record in that race.

In 1908, Fiat opened the Fiat Automobile Company in the US. The Company grew in leaps and bounds and at this time a Fiat was a luxury item in America, costing thousands more than the average domestic car of the period. Fiat continued to grow at a swift rate and it wasn't long before the Company expanded it's product line with trucks, trams, marine engines and commercial vehicles.

By the end of Fiat's early period the Company would undergo some changes and would overhaul production. The Company began fitting its cars with electrical accumulators and Fiat also patented the cardan transmission at this time.

 

Fiat 1912 to 1925

Under the new leadership of Giacomo Malle Trucco, construction of the famous Lingotto factory began in 1916. It was to be the largest factory in Europe, with a unique five floors assembly line that finished with a futuristic test track constructed on the building's roof. The factory was completed in 1922 and became the symbol of the automotive industry in Italy for decades to come. During WWI Fiat devoted itself to supplying the Allied Forces with weapons, aircraft and vehicles

New Sectors

Fiat began to explore new sectors before and after WWI, becoming active in electricity, public transportation lines, railways and the steel industry. A subsidiary was established in Russia and Fiat Lubrificanti was founded.

Crisis and Recovery

When the war ended, a time of crisis hit Fiat, even the Company's factories were briefly held by workers of the Italian Socialist Party in 1921. Fortuentley recovery came quickly and by 1923, Fiat was already showing signs of growth, due in part to some very effective cost-cutting policies. At this time, Giovanni Agnelli was promoted to the position of CEO of Fiat. Several new car models were released, including the four-seat 509. Fiat set a goal to create industrial mass production in order to decrease the cost of their cars. A holding company was established to enable purchasers to pay for Fiats through installments. As the Company grew worldwide, Fiat also grew internally between 1912 and 1925. They were quick to recognize their employees' needs and established a health care plan, sports clubs and specialized schools.

 

Fiat 1926 to 1938

Topolino

When Mussolini's come to power in Italy, Fiat had to abandon many of its plans for an international presence. Fiat would now concentrate on producing the needed equipment for the domestic market. The company responded with new technology and designs in commercial vehicles, trucks, also railways and aircraft.

Two new Fiat cars were introduced between 1934 and 1936. The Topolino was the smallest utilitarian car in the world and continued to be produced until 1955. The Tariffa Minima, better known as the Balilla, was very popular because of excellent gas mileage.

 

The Mirafiori Plant

The Mirafiori Plant was a brand new factory that introduced advanced principals for industrial organization in 1937. The factory's focus was directed toward mass production and greatly increased Fiat's output capacity.

 

Fiat 1939 to 1964

When WWII broke out, the production of cars nearly ceased as Fiat manufactured commercial and military vehicles, aircraft, weapons and machinery for the war effort. By the end of the war, Giovanni Agnelli, the President of Fiat, died in 1945 and now Vittorio Valletta was to lead the Company in post-war Italy.

During WWII, many of Fiats factories were destroyed but by 1948 reconstruction had begun. Fiat's profits increased considerably and more employees were hired to fulfill the company's commitment to innovation and research after the war.

 

Fiat 500

Two new cars the 500 and 1400 were introduced and mass production included the installation of heating and ventilation systems for the first time. Fiat continued its research on aircraft and marine engines and in 1951, the G830 jet aircraft was born; the first for Italy.

 

The 1400 diesel was introduced in 1953. By 1958, Fiat had grown in the production of both cars and farm machinery and established plants abroad while doubling the Mirafiori complex. Italy was in the middle of an economic boom and its automobile sector was the driving force behind it, fueled by Fiat innovation.

 

New Fiat Models

The Fiat 600 was introduced in 1955 and was a big utilitarian automobile with the engine mounted in the rear. The New 500 was released in 1957 and by 1960, the Giardinetta version was produced - a precursor of the Station Wagon. This was also the time when well-known models like the Fiat 1300, 1500 and 1800 were released.

Fiat 1965 to 1977

Fiat 127

Fiat continued to experience growth of production into the mid 1960s, in both exports as well as domestic sales. Car ownership in Italy changed from one car for every 96 Italians to one in 28. Fiat was poised to take advantage of the increase and established several factories in southern Italy. However this was also the beginning of the infamous trade union conflicts and so by 1969, millions of man hours were lost to strikes all over Italy.

 

Changing Fiat Presidency and New Models

The grandson of founder Giovanni Agnelli, Gianni Agnelli, became President of Fiat in 1966. Like his grandfather, he ensured the Company followed their trend of innovation with increased automation in the production process. The first new Fiat to be released during these years was the 850, followed in 1971 by the 127, which was a great success. The 127 was the first Fiat to have front wheel drive and was named Car of the Year 1971.

 

Fiat 1978 to 1990

To keep Fiat on the path to automation of production, Robogate, a flexible robotic system for assembling bodywork was introduced to factories in 1978. Fiat was also becoming an economic as well as industrial powerhouse as it began to acquire other well-known Italian brands such as Lancia, Ferrari, Alpha Romeo and Maserati. These along with the Fiat brand would be formed into Fiat Auto S.p.A. Between 1978 and 1990 Fiat also setup numerous operations as independent companies. These included Fiat Avio, Fiat Engineering, Comau, Fiat Ferraviaria, Magnet Marelli and Teksid.

 

New Models

The no-frills, affordable Fiat Panda hatchback was styled by Guigiaro for the Company in 1980, which was followed up with the Uno, in 1982. The Uno replaced the 127 and became the emblem of Fiat Auto's renewal and featured radical changes in its electronics and choice of the material used to build it. Fiat's 1000 Fire engine was also introduced at this time.

In 1989, the Tipo was released as a small family hatchback. It had cutting edge technical solutions and marked a conquest for Fiat technology. It was very popular on the international market and was named 1989 Car of the Year.

 

Fiat 1991 to 2003

In 1990, the Fiat Tempra made its debut into the family car market. One year later, the latest version of the 500 or Cinquecento was released. The Fiat Punto and the Fiat Coupe rolled off the assembly line during this time with the supermini Punto being named Car of the Year in 1995.

Fiat made its debut into SUVs in 1994, with the introduction of the Fiat Ulysse part of the Eurovan concept. In 1995, the Bravo, Brava and the Barchetta were released with the Bravo/Brava bringing Fiat yet another European Car of the Year award for 1996.

Administration Changes

1996 saw changes at the top of Fiat as Cesare Romiti took over as CEO, making Gianni Agnelli Honorary President of Fiat Group. By 1997 Fiat had outgrown its old corporate headquarters on Turin's Corso Marconi and moved to the Palazzina Fiat at Lingotto. By this time The Palazzina Fiat of Lingotto had been transformed from the famous factory into a Europe's largest convention and trade show complex.

Crisis

During the 1990s, Fiat was once again facing a crisis in the form of market competition. In order to cope, the Company expanded further into the international market, making Fiat one of the most recognized worldwide producers of affordable vehicles. It has since successfully achieved this global presence with more than 60% of sales outside of Italy. To commemorate the 100 Year Anniversary of Fiat, the Company logo was revised from the oval to a round version.

In 1998, Fiat released the Seicento as a replacement for the 500 and was known for great driving in the city. The innovative design of the Multipla was once featured in a modern art exhibit at New York City's MOMA. This compact MPV was introduced the same year as the Seicento.


A New Century of Fiat

In 2000, the Fiat Doblò was introduced at the Paris Motor Show as both an informal car and a commercial vehicle. It was named 2006 International Van of the Year. The Fiat Stilo was released in 2001 to replace the Bravo/Brava. The Stilo had numerous options and highly sophisticated technology, as well as a new design. 2002 saw the New Fiat Ulysse, the Fiat Multipla and the Fiat Stilo MW restyled.

Although 2003 saw the death of Gianni Agnelli after nearly 50 years of service, the year also saw the new Punto launched with an innovative 1.3 Multijet 16v. Later that fall, the new Panda was released and was almost immediately named Car of the Year for 2004.

 

Fiat 2004 to Today

In January 2004, the Fiat Idea made its debut and was the first full-sized MPV built by Fiat and the design was truly unique. The Idea was made taller to improve visibility and its interior was enhanced for flexibility, including sliding rear seats.

2007 saw the Fiat 500 have stiffer suspension, wider fenders and a 150 hp turbo 4-cylinder engine that runs from zero to 60 in eight seconds. The Fiat Sedici is a smart looking mini SUV at home in the city or country introduced in 2006.


Fiat continues on the path of innovation and superior technology into the 21st century with a line of new engines and new models. Sergio Marchionne has been CEO since 2004 and along with Chairman Luca di Montezemolo have steadily increased the standing of the company from one that once looked to be in financial trouble, to one that can now be seen as an example of success. As of 2009, amid the world's major financial crisis, Fiat is strong enough to take a controlling stake in struggling American automaker Chrysler. 

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Comments

Saturday, May 02TH, 2009 by Guest

I had a Fiat model 124.Ever since I got from the dealer, the car had to be repaired many times. Yes, when the car worked, it drove well. It required lots of maintenace. Therefore , FIAT has a name in the USA, "Fix It Again Tony".
I don't think this alliance of FIAT with Chrysler, will sell FIAT/Chrysler car.
Look at the dismal alliance of Crysler with Merzedes Banz!!

Monday, June 28TH, 2010 by Guest

I looked many web sites for Fiat Trucks but I couldn't find any information. Fiat 643, 684, 697. When Fiat trucks has been started to produce under name of Iveco? Iveco established 1975 but need more info please.

Thursday, May 26TH, 2011 by Guest

FIAT simply the best ....... is the best .... because simply it is italian ... forza italia e forza FIAT e forza JUVENTUS and fuck USA and the American car

Wednesday, June 01TH, 2011 by Guest

Well I do not know if being Italian is the whole of the case but they are different in a good way mostly. The 70's and earlier were Italian territory for the good stuff in bike gear and an old friends coupe was fun. An engine we could all lift back when we were in HS. Wish I had friends to help supply a few shoes if I had the bucks to open a store but thanks to a song ripped by an artist in 2000 I cannot pull that off.

Wednesday, July 20TH, 2011 by Guest

Dear Sir.

Could you kindly forward me your email address for to write your fiat fatory with regards to my FIAT PUNTO CAR which i had purchased it from the TTS EUROCARS Singapore Pte Ltd in the year 2007, 09 July. In the year 2009 i change new battery. less than year in Novemeber 2010 change battery again and now i have to change again new battery in  July 2011. Pls to informed you that from day one my Fait Punto serving is done by the Fiat agent in TTS EUROCARS Center.
Now my car just rich the fouth year the ALTERNATOR problem the agent told me i have to change new Alternator. Why ?
The Aternator normally takes about 6 or 7 year to change.Does the alternator spoit that fast. I when to the TTS EUROCARS Center they advise me to change new one and that cost is about SGT$1300.00 plus. His this what i get for buying the Fiat Punto Car. I was very disapointed less than four years facing alot of problem with the Fiat Punto car and i dont no what more i will be facing with my car when ever go to the agent always charging me.

My email : lanthonydass@yahoo.com.sg

Thursday, September 29TH, 2011 by Guest

THERE IS A SAYING FOR FIAT <first all="" in="" trouble=""></first>

Monday, March 05TH, 2012 by Guest

The 124 came out it's been over 40 years now Fiat's cars are different.

Wednesday, February 13TH, 2013 by Guest

I am looking for information about a 1947 Fiat Ghia (for Sale)

Friday, March 22TH, 2013 by Guest

i want sprir part