Fiat Automobiles S.p.A. Italy: Fiat Automobiles S.p.A. is the largest automobile manufacturer in Italy. It is 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, and traces its history back to 1899 when the first Fiat automobile was manufactured. Fiat has also been involved in weapons manufacture such as the Fiat–Revelli Modello 1914. So, the key people of the company are John Elkann (President) and Olivier François (CEO). The former arrived in the summer of 1899, with the 3½ HP, of which only 24 units were manufactured by a total of 150 workers in the Turin automotive factory, the only one in Italy.
11 July 1899; 118 years ago
Turin, Piedmont, Italy
Presence of Fiat
Fiat’s main market is Europe, mainly focused in Italy. Fiat’s built their five-story Lingotto plant in 1915 through 1918, at the time it was Europe’s largest car manufacturing plant. Later the Mirafiori plant was built, also in Turin. To prepare for production of the all-new Fiat 128, in October 1968, Fiat opened their Rivalta plant. Until the 128 entered production, the plant was used to manufacture sports versions of the 850 and 124 as well as parts for the Fiat Dino.
The Fiat Automobile Co. was established in the country in 1908 and a plant in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., started manufacturing Fiats a year later, like the Fiat 60 HP and the Fiat 16-20 HP. Fiat returned to North America in the 1950s, selling the original 500, Fiat 600 Multipla, Fiat 1100, Fiat 1200, and the Fiat 1300. The first Fiat-branded model to appear in the US was the internationally popular Fiat 500 city car. The Fiat 500 model is manufactured at Chrysler’s assembly plant in Toluca, Mexico, which currently makes also the Dodge Journey and Fiat Freemont crossovers.
Fiat passenger cars started assembly in South Africa in 1950, and full production in their Rosslyn plant started in 1966. Sales reached a peak market share of about five percent around 1970 but then dropped precipitously. So, a new 128-based half-ton pickup truck helped turn the situation around. It also assembled in Egypt through El-Nasr Automotive Manufacturing Company which assembled FIAT brands 125-127-128.
Fiat was only importing Fiat Bravo and Fiat 500 model at the beginning of 2012. However, in 2012 Fiat and GAC opened a Joint Venture plant to manufacture 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. Fiat currently offers to Japanese consumers the 500 in both coupe and convertible body styles, and the Panda. 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.
Fiat began development of electric vehicles back in the mid 1970s, with the concept Fiat X1/23. More recently in 2008, Fiat showed the Phylla concept, and the Fiat Bugster concept in Brazil. Further, Fiat joined utility companies Cemig and Itaipu to develop new electric vehicles for Brazil, with production in 2009 of the Palio Weekend Electric. So, Fiat introduced the electric 500e in California in 2013, but no sales were planned for Europe. Also, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne claimed in 2014 that each one was sold at a loss of $14,000.
The Fiat 124 Sport Spider was prepared in 1971 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. in 2003 a Fiat Punto S1600 won the Italian Rally Championship, and 2006 the Fiat Grande Punto S2000 won the FIA European Rally Championship, followed by three successive wins in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
The FIAT initials were first used in the distinctive logo form 1901. Beginning in 1931, the company started using a single red shield without a wreath. Also, in 1968 the “rhomboid” logo was launched 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. So, a new corporate nose based on the rhomboid logo was first launched 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.