The Fiat automaker has been in operation since July 11th 1899, when a group of investors including the Agnelli family signed a deal to begin producing cars in Turin, Italy. Throughout its history Fiat has enjoyed periods of success and periods of crisis due to oil and economic problems around the world.
Fiat was established in 1899 with the first factory built by the company and opened the following year. 24 cars of the first 3 ½ CV model were produced in 1900 by the 35 staff in the factory. By 1916, Fiats had become popular cars in Italy prompting the company to build the largest automobile factory in Europe, known as the Lingotto factory.
Production of Fiat Cars stalled during the two world wars in the first half of the 20th century; during both World Wars the company concentrated on producing weapons for the Italian military. Following World War II Fiat produced new models, such as the 500 and 1400; the Fiat 500 has been in production since 1957. The 1990s financial crisis saw Fiat expand into foreign markets to attempt to regain its place as an international automobile power; in 2009 the Italian carmaker bought a controlling interest in the U.S. automobile band Chrysler, leading to expansion into the U.S. sales market.
5 remarkable facts about Facts
- Fiat is an acronym for Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino; translated into English as Italian Factory Cars Turin.
- In 1923, Fiat founder Eduardo Agnelli bought a controlling interest in football team Juventus. Agnelli was instrumental in building a stadium and starting a period of success for the Turin team known as The Old Lady.
- Fiat has acquired interests in various automakers throughout its history, including a half share in Ferrari in 1969. In 1986, Fiat bought Alfa Romeo from the Italian government.
- The Libyan Government bought a 10% stake in Fiat in 1976 and sold its share back to the Agnelli family in 1986.
- The Lingotto factory built in 1916 was built with the assembly line spread over five production floors. Saving on space at the factory site the design included a test track built on the roof of the building.
Famous Fiat Models
The Fiat 500 has been updated throughout its history; in 2012 the 500L model was introduced as a larger version of the compact car.
Since it was introduced in in 1981 the Fiat Panda has sold over two million vehicles. A 4×4 version of the Panda has been introduced for off-road use.
Fiat introduced the Idea model as a mini multi purpose vehicle based on the design of the second generation Punto model. Different versions of the Idea have been designed for sale in Europe and South America.