The History of Fiat S.p.A
Fiat SpA Is One Of Italy’s Most Iconic Car Manufacturers
Updated September 3, 2018
In 1889 in Torino Italy, the company would be formed under the name of Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino or Fiat for short. The first vehicle Fiat would produce would be named the 3 1/2 CV in which eight would be produce. The vehicle had a 697 cc twin cylinder boxer engine and resembled the Benz motor vehicle of the time. Fiat would then continue to produce vehicles as well as start the process of engineering for manufacturing aircraft engines. By 1908 the company was starting to export vehicles to the United States as well as manufacturer’s first aircraft engine. Just two years later Fiat would become the largest automotive company in Italy and continue to hold the title even to this day. The same year Fiat would license a manufacturing plant for its vehicles in New York state but would close due to stringent US regulations by 1917. The Fiat name would become synonymous with luxury and distinction as American buyers who purchased the vehicles even though the cost was asked times as much as the current Ford Model T. In 1921 Fiat manufacturing would be taken over by the communist government in which at the same time the founder Giovanni Agnelli would leave the company. Vehicle production would continue as Fiat made up 80% of the automotive market in Italy.
Post-War History Of Fiat SpA
Throughout the Second World War, Fiat would manufacture vehicles and components in order to assist in the wartime effort for Italy and later Germany. The company’s designs for wartime vehicles such as tanks and airplanes will be deemed obsolete on the battlefield as Fiat military vehicles were simply outdated an underpowered by design. By the end of World War II Fiat would have its manufacturing plants destroyed by allied bombing the company would start its reconstruction process. Fiat would introduce two vehicles that would become staples such as the Fiat 500 for the company as well as become an inexpensive means of transportation for a postwar country.
By 1958 Fiats production numbers would increase substantially due to a stronger local and global economy. This would help Fiat to open up more manufacturing plants abroad. Throughout the 50’s and 60’s Fiat manufacturing numbers steadily increased as well as the introduction of more models such as the 600, 1300, 1500, and 1800. Sales and profit for the company would rise and would lead to Fiat expanding its reach in southern Italy adding manufacturing plants. The company was continuing to be prosperous until the late sixties whenever the Fiat factories would be hit with many severe labor strikes causing production to cease. These labor strikes however did not affect corporate Fiat as in 1969 the company would purchase controlling interests of Ferrari and Lancia. Fiat would also begin construction of more facilities throughout Bulgaria, Poland, Romania and Yugoslavia. Throughout the 1970s, Fiat would also see a decline in the company due to rising oil prices and slowing economies. The company would need to reorganize as well as gain capital from investors. The company made a deal with Libya as it would give up 9.6% of the company for an injection of over 250 million in British pounds to the company which would help fund Fiat. Although now refunded, Fiat would choose to halt vehicle sales in the United States and Australia.
The Modern History Of Fiat SpA
In 1986 a total of 15% of the company’s stock would still be owned by Libya. Fiat would find itself being asked to cut its ties with Libya and in doing so the company would work to broker a buyout of Libyan held stock. During the same year Fiat would acquire Alfa Romeo from the time government. By the early 90s Fiat was coping with a crisis and as a result the company worked on expanding its sales internationally. The corporate strategy ended up being an overall success with over 60% of Fiat vehicles being sold internationally. And as Fiat expanded its market it would also be confronted with competition leading the company to concentrate its engineering attentions to making the vehicles a better product overall.
Today Fiat ranks as one of the largest auto manufacturers as it now owns 58.5% of Chrysler group. This makes the list of subsidiaries for Fiat to include Ferrari, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, RAM, Mopar, Abarth. The company also has subsidiaries the deal with components and production systems as well as publishing and advertising. Not including Chrysler Group the company employs nearly 140,000 individuals and produces over 2 million vehicles annually.
Categories: Production Cars