Fiat Automobiles

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Fiat Automobiles S.p.A.
Subsidiary
S.p.A
Industry Automotive
Founded 11 July 1899; 118 years ago (11 July 1899) in Torino, Piemonte, Italy
Founder Giovanni Agnelli
Headquarters Torino, Piemonte, Italy
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
John Elkann (President)
Olivier François (CEO)
Products Automobiles
Production output
1,455,650 units (2010)[1]
Owner Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
Parent FCA Italy
Website Fiat.com

Fiat Automobiles S.p.A. (FIAT, Italian: Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino, lit. 'Italian Automobiles Factory, Turin') is the largest automobile manufacturer in Italy, a subsidiary of FCA Italy S.p.A., which is part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Fiat Automobiles S.p.A. was formed in January 2007 when Fiat reorganized its automobile business,[2] and traces its history back to 1899 when the first Fiat automobile, the Fiat 4 HP, was produced.

During its more than century-long history Fiat remained the largest automobile manufacturer in Europe and the third in the world after General Motors and Ford for over twenty years, until the car industry crisis in the late 1980s.[3] Fiat has also manufactured railway engines, military vehicles, farm tractors, aircraft, and weapons such as the Fiat–Revelli Modello 1914.

Fiat Automobiles has received many international awards for its vehicles, including nine European Car of the Year awards, the most of any other manufacturer, and it ranked many times as the lowest level of CO2 emissions by vehicles sold in Europe.[4]

History[edit]

The founders of Fiat: 1. Luigi Damevino, 2. Cesare Goria Gatti, 3. Roberto Biscaretti di Ruffia, 4. Carlo Racca, 5. Emanuele Cacherano di Bricherasio, 6. Michele Ceriana Mayneri, 7. Giovanni Agnelli, 8. Lodovico Scarfiotti, 9. Alfonso Ferrero

On 11 July 1899, Giovanni Agnelli was part of the group of founding members of FIAT, Fabbrica Italiana di Automobili Torino. The first Fiat plant opened in 1900[5] with 35 staff making 24 cars. Known from the beginning for the talent and creativity of its engineering staff, by 1903 Fiat made a small profit and produced 135 cars; this grew to 1,149 cars by 1906. The company then went public selling shares via the Milan stock exchange.

Fiat 4 HP, the first model of car produced by Fiat

Agnelli led the company until his death in 1945, while Vittorio Valletta administered the firm's daily activities, its first car the 3 ½ CV (of which only 24 copies were built, all bodied by Alessio of Turin)[6] strongly resembled contemporary Benz,[7] and had a 697 cc (42.5 cu in) boxer twin engine.[7] In 1903, Fiat produced its first truck;[8] in 1908, the first Fiat was exported to the US.[8] That same year, the first Fiat aircraft engine was produced. Also around the same time, Fiat taxis became popular in Europe.[9]

By 1910, Fiat was the largest automotive company in Italy, that same year, a new plant was built in Poughkeepsie, NY, by the newly founded American F.I.A.T. Automobile Company.[10][11] Owning a Fiat at that time was a sign of distinction, the cost of a Fiat in the US was initially $4,000[12] and rose up to $6,400 in 1918,[13] compared to $825 for a Ford Model T in 1908,[14] and $525 in 1918, respectively.[15] During World War I, Fiat had to devote all of its factories to supplying the Allies with aircraft, engines, machine guns, trucks, and ambulances. Upon the entry of the US into the war in 1917, the factory was shut down as US regulations became too burdensome, after the war, Fiat introduced its first tractor, the 702.[16] By the early 1920s, Fiat had a market share in Italy of 80%.[17]

Front of the Lingotto

In 1921, workers seized Fiat's plants and hoisted the red flag of communism over them. Agnelli responded by quitting the company. However, the Italian Socialist Party and its ally organization, the Italian General Confederation of Labour, in an effort to effect a compromise with the centrist parties ordered the occupation ended. In 1922, Fiat began to build the famous Lingotto car factory—then the largest in Europe—which opened in 1923, it was the first Fiat factory to use assembly lines; by 1925, Fiat controlled 87% of the Italian car market.[18] In 1928, with the 509, Fiat included insurance in the purchase price.[19]

Fiat made military machinery and vehicles during World War II for the Army and Regia Aeronautica and later for the Germans. Fiat made obsolete fighter aircraft like the biplane CR.42, which was one of the most common Italian aircraft, along with Savoia-Marchettis, as well as light tanks (obsolete compared to their German and Soviet counterparts) and armoured vehicles. The best Fiat aircraft was the G.55 fighter, which arrived too late and in too limited numbers. In 1945, the year Benito Mussolini was overthrown, the National Liberation Committee removed the Agnelli family from leadership roles in Fiat because of its ties to Mussolini's government, these were not returned until 1963, when Giovanni's grandson, Gianni, took over as general manager until 1966, as chairman until 1996.

In 1970, Fiat employed more than 100,000 in Italy when its production reached the highest number, 1.4 million cars, in that country.[20] As of 2002, Fiat built more than 1 million vehicles at six plants in Italy and the country accounted for more than a third of the company's revenue.[20]

On 29 January 2014, it was announced that Fiat S.p.A. (the former owner of Fiat Group) was to be merged into a new Netherlands-based holding company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCA), took place before the end of 2014. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles became the new owner of Fiat Group.[21] On 1 August 2014, Fiat S.p.A. received necessary shareholder approval to proceed with the merger,[22] which became effective 12 October 2014.[23][24]

Presence[edit]

Global locations of Fiat automobiles dealer, 2012

Europe[edit]

Fiat's main market is Europe, mainly focused in Italy. Historically successful in citycars and supermini sector, currently Fiat has a range of models focused on those two segments (in 2011, those accounted for the 84% of its sales). Fiat does not currently offer any large family car, nor an executive car - these market segments have, to some extent been covered by the Lancia and Alfa Romeo brands, which Fiat also owns.

Fiat's share of the European market shrank from 9.4 per cent in 2000 to 5.8 per cent in the summer of 2004. At this point Sergio Marchionne was appointed as Fiat's chief executive. By March 2009 their market share had expanded to 9.1 per cent.[25]

Fiat built their five-story Lingotto plant in 1915 through 1918, at the time it was Europe's largest car manufacturing plant.[26] Later the Mirafiori plant was built, also in Turin. To prepare for production of the all-new Fiat 128, Fiat opened their Rivalta plant in October 1968, until the 128 entered production, the plant was used to build sports versions of the 850 and 124 as well as parts for the Fiat Dino.[27]

Fiat Punto
Fiat Panda

Fiat's 2017 range of passenger car engines comprised eleven units, eight petrols and three diesels,[28] their current range of models is the following:


Fiat sales in 2011 were up to 676,704 (less 17.3% versus the previous year):[29]

Model 2011 sales
Fiat Punto 220,343
Fiat Panda 189,527
Fiat 500 156,301
Fiat Linea 35,499
Fiat Bravo 31,673
Fiat Sedici 14,777
Fiat Freemont 13,651
Fiat Albea 8,951
Fiat Idea 5,982

Light commercial vehicles are sold in Europe under the brand Fiat Professional.

Fiat was importing cars to the UK market by the outbreak of World War II in 1939 (with the two countries on opposite sides), but its market share increased rapidly during the 1970s, with the 127 supermini and 128 range of small family cars being the biggest sellers, selling largely on practicality and efficiency. Its market share increased further during the 1980s with the Fiat Uno (imported to the UK from June 1983) being the company's best seller in the UK, and its share fell sharply in the early 1990s before the arrival of the Punto in March 1994 rejuvenated the company's UK fortunes.

The second generation Punto was a strong seller in the UK after its October 1999 launch, but the new modern day Fiat 500 (launched there in January 2008) has accounted for most of the company's UK sales in more recent years, the original Fiat 500 had been one of the few direct competitors for the iconic Mini during its 1960s heyday.[30]

South America[edit]

Fiat Uno, specifically developed for Brazilian market

Fiat has invested for a long time in South America, mainly in Brazil (where has been the market leader for many years) and in Argentina, they built their first Brazilian car plant in the Greater Belo Horizonte city of Betim in 1973, after having begun by building tractors there.[31]

The Brazilian range is similar to European one, with the addition of a special family which derives from a common platform (called "Project 178"): Palio Weekend, Palio Adventure, Strada.

Recently a range of new models developed in Brazil has been launched: Uno, Palio, Grand Siena, Fiorino.

Other European models are currently imported to Brazil: Fiat 500.

Fiat sells in Brazil under the Fiat brand, European Fiat Professional light commercial vehicles as:

United States[edit]

Fiat re-entered the North American market in 2011 with the new Fiat 500

Fiat has a long history in the United States; in 1908, the Fiat Automobile Co. was established in the country and a plant in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.,[32][33] began producing Fiats a year later, like the Fiat 60 HP and the Fiat 16-20 HP.[34] These luxury cars were produced long before Chrysler Corp. was formed in 1925 from older manufacturers that were acquired by Walter P. Chrysler, the founder.[35] The New Jersey factory was closed when the U.S. entered World War I in 1917.

Fiat returned to North America in the 1950s, selling the original 500, Fiat 600 Multipla, Fiat 1100, Fiat 1200, and the Fiat 1300.[36] The company name Fiat was sometimes used as a jocular backronym for 'Fix it again Tony', referring to poor reliability and problems, such as rust, which some Fiat models suffered in the 1970s and 1980s. Models produced in those years include the Fiat 124 Sport Spider and the Fiat X1/9.[37][38][39] Partly as a result, Fiat sales in the US fell from a high of 100,511 cars in 1975 to 14,113 in 1982;[38] in 1983, Fiat left the United States car market with a reputation for poor quality cars in North America.[40][40][41]

In January 2009, the Fiat Group acquired a 20% stake in US automaker Chrysler LLC,[42] the deal saw the return of the Fiat brand to North America after a 25-year absence. The first Fiat-branded model to appear in the US was the internationally popular Fiat 500 city car, the Fiat 500 model is built at Chrysler's assembly plant in Toluca, Mexico, which currently makes also the Dodge Journey and Fiat Freemont crossovers.[43] Fiat is also selling their commercial vehicles Fiat Ducato and Fiat Doblò in North America, rebranded as Ram ProMaster and Ram ProMaster City respectively.

Africa[edit]

Fiat passenger cars began assembly in South Africa in 1950, and full production in their Rosslyn plant commenced in 1966.[44] Sales reached a peak market share of about five percent around 1970 but then dropped precipitously. A new 128-based half-ton pickup truck helped turn the situation around,[45] it also assembled in Egypt through El-Nasr Automotive Manufacturing Company which assembled FIAT brands 125-127-128

Asia[edit]

Fiat's presence in Chinese market is limited compared to its European, Japanese, Korean and American rivals, at the beginning of 2012, Fiat was only importing Fiat Bravo and Fiat 500 model. However, in 2012 Fiat and GAC opened a Joint Venture plant to produce the first Fiat vehicle specifically developed for Chinese market ever: the Fiat Viaggio, a compact car derived by another model of Fiat SpA group, the Dodge Dart (in turn derived by another Fiat Group car, the Alfa Romeo Giulietta).

Fiat currently offers to Japanese consumers the 500 in both coupe and convertible bodystyles, and the Panda. Both vehicles are in compliance with Japanese Government dimension regulations affording the Japanese public to purchase a non-Japanese vehicle without having to pay an annual tax for driving a car that exceeds the regulations.

Fiat is also present in the Indian market since 1948. Current presence is in Joint Venture with Tata Motors, although current car sales (Fiat is currently offering the Fiat Punto and Fiat Linea) are niche market and limited (approx. 20k units in 2011).

Current production[edit]

Western countries markets[edit]

Fiat 500L
Fiat Freemont

The Fiat 500 (Italian: cinquecento, Italian pronunciation: [ˌtʃiŋkweˈtʃɛnto]) is a car produced by the Fiat company of Italy between 1957 and 1975, with limited production of the Fiat 500 K estate continuing until 1977. The car was designed by Dante Giacosa. Redesigned in 2007, it is currently distributed worldwide.

The Fiat Panda is a city car from the Italian automotive manufacturer Fiat. Current version is the third one distributed as from 2012.

The third generation Fiat supermini to bear the name Punto, codenamed Project 199, the Grande Punto was unveiled at the 2005 Frankfurt Motor Show and went on sale later that year. Styled by Giugiaro, the car is based on the Fiat/GM SCCS platform. Whilst the model shares some of its name with the previous Punto, a large number of its components are new, including a new chassis and body shell, after facelift in 2009 it was named as Punto Evo and sold as bare Punto name.

The Fiat 500L enlarges, as from September 2012, the Fiat 500 family with a Mini MPV which replace the Fiat Idea, the model is produced in the new Fiat plant in Serbia. The platform is the same of the Fiat Punto.[46]

Emerging markets (production in Europe)[edit]

Emerging markets (production in South America)[edit]

  • Fiat Argo (Project X6H)

Argo is the car that is going to replace Fiat Palio, Punto, and Bravo for the Brazilian Market produced in Betim - MG Brazil

  • Fiat New Sedan (Project X6S)

The new sedan is going to be produced in Argentina in Cordoba and is going to be in the place of Siena and Grand Siena.

  • Fiat New pickup (Project X6P)

The new pickup will took place of Strada, but the project is on hold.

Palio Weekend
  • Fiat Palio

The Fiat Palio is a supermini designed by Fiat as a world car, aimed at developing countries, the Palio Weekend is a small family car station wagon; an extended version of the hatchback Palio.

  • Fiat Grand Siena
Grand Siena

The Fiat Grand Siena is the four-door sedan version of the second generation of the Fiat Palio, a small family car especially designed for developing countries.

European Cars of the Year[edit]

The European Car of the Year award has been awarded twelve times to the Fiat Group over the last forty years, more than any other manufacturer. Nine of these awards were won by Fiat Automobiles models. Fiat models awarded the title:

CO2 emissions[edit]

Fiat Automobiles, one of Europe's 10 best-selling automotive brands, has for the second year running been confirmed as having the lowest average value for CO2 emissions from vehicles sold in 2008: 133.7 g/km (137.3 g/km in 2007). This was corroborated by JATO, a provider of automotive data.[48]

Electric vehicles[edit]

Fiat started development of electric vehicles back in the mid 1970s, with the concept Fiat X1/23. More recently in 2008, Fiat showed the Phylla concept,[49] and the Fiat Bugster concept in Brazil.[50]

Fiat joined utility companies Cemig and Itaipu to develop new electric vehicles for Brazil, with production in 2009 of the Palio Weekend Electric.[51]

Fiat launched the electric 500e in California in 2013, but no sales were planned for Europe.[52] Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne claimed in 2014 that each one was sold at a loss of $14,000.[53]

Concept vehicles[edit]

Motorsport[edit]

In 1971 the Fiat 124 Sport Spider was prepared for the World Rally Championship when Abarth became involved with its production and development and from 1972 had relative success with two wins in 1972, one in 1973 and won 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the 1974 Portuguese TAP Rally.[57]

The Fiat 131 Abarth was a very successful rally car replacing the 124. Between 1976 and 1981 the Fiat 131 won 18 World Rally Championship events,[58] and winning the WRC three times: in 1977, 1978, and in 1980.[59]

Lancia took over the role of motorsport for the Fiat Group during the 1980s. After a long break of factory-supported entries, in 2003 a Fiat Punto S1600 won the Italian Rally Championship, and 2006 the Fiat Grande Punto S2000 won the FIA European Rally Championship,[60] followed by three successive wins in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Marketing[edit]

[edit]

Fiat logo used from 1968 to 1999

The FIAT initials were first used in the distinctive logo form 1901.[61] Beginning in 1931, the company began using a single red shield without a wreath; in 1968 the "rhomboid" logo (as it was known internally) was introduced which featured the FIAT initials spelled out on four interconnected rhombuses. The rhomboid was slowly phased in during the early 1970s, although the older "laurel wreath" style FIAT badge was used to denote sporting models such as the 124 Spider, 127 Sport, X1/9 and the tuned Abarth models. A new corporate nose based on the rhomboid logo was first introduced in 1983 on the Uno, which consisted of five chrome bars inclined at an angle of 18 degrees to mirror the rhomboid, which usually appeared in reduced size at the corner of the grille.

In 1999 the wreath style logo was re-introduced to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the company.

Motor Village and flagship stores[edit]

Fiat launched its Motor Village flagship store concept in 2006, with its Mirafiori Motor Village in Turin, followed by London's on Wigmore Street in 2008[62] and Paris's on the Champs-Élysées in 2010.[63]

BSM-Fiat deal[edit]

In 2009, BSM (the British School of Motoring) ended a 16-year relationship with Vauxhall Motors and signed a deal with Fiat UK to swap its learner vehicle from the Vauxhall Corsa to the new Fiat 500. Fiat UK will supply 14,000 cars to BSM over four years in a marketing deal.[64]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]