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F.I.A.T : Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torno

Everybody loves Italian cars. Italian cars are commonly renowned for luxury, sporty design and its capacity to empty your wallet but that is no longer the case thanks to FIAT. Founded by Giovanni Agnelli, F.I.A.T (Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino) has a rich history as it has clenched a superior role in the automotive industry since its establishment in 1899. From the juncture they first appeared on the automotive market, Fiat’s products have been extensively recognized worldwide. During its more than century-long history, Fiat has also manufactured railway engines and carriages, military vehicles, farm tractors, and aircrafts.

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In about 1900, the first FIAT branded automobile rolled out the factory, 24 of the FIAT’s 4 HP also known as 3 . CV were out of the assembly line which had a 697cc boxer twin engine. As time went by, the company gained in popularity and although it was becoming bigger by the day it was until 1910 that Fiat became the largest automotive company in Italy. Despite such accolades, the company continued its lengthy development and research stages and after many tryouts using 4 and 6 cylinder models, FIAT was ready to reveal its first mass-produced car, the 1912 “Tipo Zero”. A series of newer models that matched or even surpassed the popularity of those before them were later released, some of the most notable having been the 1932 Tipo 508 Ballila.

Then, finally in 1953 FIAT’s first diesel engine was introduced ‘The 1400 Diesel’, it grabbed some attention but it was FIAT 500 released in 1957 that grew up to become one of the icons of FIAT. The Fiat 500, known initially as the CINQUECENTO, was a ‘people’s car,’ measuring just over 9 feet long and powered by a 479cc two cylinder, air-cooled engine. Despite its diminutive size, the 500 proved to be an enormously practical and popular vehicle throughout Europe. An astounding 3,893,294 units were produced from 1957 to 1975.

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In 1966 the grandson of founder Giovanni Agnelli, Gianni Agnelli, became President of Fiat. Like his grandfather, he ensured the Company followed their trend of innovation with increased automation in the production process and acquisition of other companies. By 1969 Fiat acquired Ferrari and later acquired Maserati, Lancia and Alpha Romeo and had outstripped its competitor’s becoming the “the most dynamic automaker in Europe.” 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.

In 1982 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.

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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.

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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 has 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. In 2013 Fiat launched the all new FIAT 500, an iconic vehicle which carried Fiats Legacy.

Fiat has come a long way since its inception. Sold in practically every continent this Italian based company today is a global manufacturer building a range of commercial and passenger vehicle. Fiat has been a brand chosen and driven by millions worldwide.

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