Fiat S.p.A. (an acronym for Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino (Italian Automobile Factory of Turin) is an Italian automobile manufacturer, engine manufacturer, financial and industrial group based in Turin in Northern Italy. Founded in 1899 by a group of investors including Giovanni Agnelli. Fiat has also manufactured tanks and aircraft.
Fiat based cars are constructed all around the world—the largest concern outside Italy is in Brazil (best seller ). It also has factories in Argentina and Poland. Fiat has a long history of licensing its products to other countries regardless of local political or cultural persuasion. Joint venture operations are found in France, Turkey, Egypt (with the state owned Nasr car company), South Africa, India and China.
Agnelli's grandson Gianni Agnelli was Fiat chairman from 1966 until his death on January 24, 2003. However, from 1996, he only served as an "honorary" chairman, while the chairman was Cesare Romiti. After their removal, Paolo Fresco served as chairman and Paolo Cantarella as CEO. Umberto Agnelli then took over as chairman from 2002 to 2004. After Umberto Agnelli's death on May 28, 2004, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo was named chairman, but Agnelli heir John Elkann became vice chairman at age 28 and other family members are on the board. At this point, CEO Giuseppe Morchio immediately offered his resignation. Sergio Marchionne was named to replace him on June 1, 2004.
The group's activities were initially focused on the industrial production of cars, industrial and agricultural vehicles. Over time it has diversified into many other fields, and the group now has activities in a wide range of sectors in industry and financial services. It is Italy's largest industrial concern. It also has significant worldwide operations, operating in 61 countries with 1,063 companies that employ over 223,000 people, 111,000 of whom are outside Italy.
Fiat Group is the largest automobile manufacturer in Italy, with a range of cars starting from small Fiats to sports cars made by Ferrari. Car companies includes Fiat Group Automobiles S.p.A, Ferrari S.p.A., Iveco S.p.A. and Maserati S.p.A. The Fiat Group Automobiles S.p.A. consist companies: Abarth & C. S.p.A., Alfa Romeo Automobiles S.p.A., Fiat Automobiles S.p.A., Fiat Professional and Lancia Automobiles S.p.A.. Ferrari S.p.A. is owned by the Fiat Group, but is run autonomously.
The European Car of the Year award, Europe's premier automotive trophy for the past 40 years, has been awarded twelve times to the Fiat Group, more than any other manufacturer. Most recently the Fiat Nuova 500 has won the award for European Car of the Year 2008.
List of Fiat Group models which have won European Car of the Year:
In 1959, Piaggio came under the control of the Agnelli family. Resultantly, in 1964 the aeronautical and motorcycle divisions split to become independent companies; the aeronautical division was named IAM Rinaldo Piaggio. Today the airplane company Piaggio Aero is controlled by the family of Piero Ferrari, which also still hold 10% of the carmaker Ferrari.
Fiat itself was an important aircraft manufacturer, focused mainly on military aviation. After the World War I, Fiat consolidated several Italian small aircraft manufacturers, like Pomilio and Ansaldo. Most famous were Fiat biplane fighter aircraft of the 1930s, Fiat CR.32 and Fiat CR.42. Other notable designs were fighters CR.20, G.50, G.55 and a bomber, the Fiat BR.20. In 1950s, the company designed the G.91 light ground attack plane. Then, in 1969 Fiat Aviazione merged with Aerfer to create Aeritalia.
Fiat supports the Fondazione Giovanni Agnelli, an important foundation for social and economic research. Palazzo Grassi, a famous ancient building in Venice, now a museum and formerly supported by Fiat, was eventually sold to the french businessman François Pinault in January 2005.
Fiat has recently begun sponsoring the Jamaican bobsledding team and promoting this sponsorship through commercials. Many like Jamaican athletes because they see them as underdogs and as people who enjoy life. While Volvo sponsors golf, Mercedes tennis, and Hyundai soccer, Fiat is trying to look unique and more light-hearted. Further, the team is relatively cheap to sponsor.
The group is present in many countries, not only in the West. Notably, it was one of the first companies to build factories in Soviet-controlled countries, with the best known examples in Vladivostok, Kyiv and Togliatti. The Russian government later continued the joint venture under the name AutoVAZ (known as Lada outside the former USSR). The venture was most notable for the Lada Riva. Fiat also has a subsidiary in Poland at Tychy, (formerly called FSM) where Fiat's small cars (the 126, Cinquecento and now Seicento) are made. Fiat also has factories in Argentina, Brazil, and Italy. In addition, its cars are produced through licensing and joint-venture agreements in China, Egypt, France, India, South Africa, Turkey, and Vietnam. Local variants of Fiats are produced at these factories as well as a world car, the Palio. As of 2005, the company holds the first position in the Brazilian automobile market with a market share close to 25%.
Fiat has articulated that it wishes to focus on expanding into third-world markets because, in the words of former chairman Paolo Fresco, "those are the only markets where you can expect growth. And it is true that Fiat's specialization in smaller cars puts it at an advantage in those markets, but cars sold in third-world countries tend to be much simpler than those sold elsewhere (e.g., most lack air conditioning), and thus require much less money to develop.
Giovanni Agnelli founded Fiat in 1899 with several investors and led the company until his death in 1945, while Vittorio Valletta administered the day-to-day activities of the company. Its first car the 3 ½ CV (of which only eight copies were built, all bodied by Alessio of Turin) strongly resembled contemporary Benz, and had a boxer twin engine.In 1903, Fiat produced its first truck. In 1908, the first Fiat was exported to the US. That same year, the first Fiat aircraft engine was produced. Also around the same time, Fiat taxis became somewhat popular in Europe. By 1910, Fiat was the largest automotive company in Italy — a position it has retained since. That same year, a plant licensed to produce Fiats in Poughkeepsie, NY, made its first car. This was before the introduction of Ford's assembly line in 1913. Owning a Fiat at that time was a sign of distinction. A Fiat sold in the U.S. cost between $3,600 and $8,600, compared to US$825 the Model T in 1908.
Upon the entry of the US into World War I in 1917, the factory was shut down as US regulations became too burdensome. At the same time, Fiat had to devote all of its factories to supplying the Allies with aircraft, engines, machine guns, trucks, and ambulances. After the war, Fiat introduced its first tractor, the 702. By the early 1920s, Fiat had a market share in Italy of 80%.
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 General Confederation of Labor, 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 — the largest in Europe up to that time — which opened in 1923. It was the first Fiat factory to use assembly lines; by 1925, Fiat controlled 87% of the Italian car market. In 1928, with the 509, Fiat included insurance in the purchase price.
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 armored vehicles. The best Fiat aircraft was the G.55 fighter, which arrived too late and in too limited numbers. In 1945 — the year Mussolini was overthrown — the Italian Committee of National Liberation 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 1986, Fiat acquired Alfa Romeo from the Italian government. In 1992, two top corporate officials in the Fiat Group were arrested for political corruption. A year later, Fiat acquired Maserati. In 1995 Alfa Romeo exited the US market. Maserati re-entered the US market under Fiat in 2002. Since then, Maserati sales there have been increasing briskly.
However, his efforts were frustrated by union objections. Unions insisted that pay raises be set by length of tenure, rather than performance. Another conflict was over his preference for informality (the founder, Giovanni Agnelli, used to be a cavalry officer). He often referred to other managers by their first name, although company tradition obliged one to refer to others using their titles (e.g., "Chairman Fresco"). The CEO of the company, Managing Director Paolo Cantarella, ran the day-to-day affairs of the company, while Fresco determined company strategy and especially acted as a negotiator for the company. In fact, many speculated the main reason he was chosen for the job was to sell Fiat Auto (although Fresco fervently denied it). In 1999, Fiat formed CNH Global by merging New Holland NV and Case Corporation.
As part of the recent divestitures, in 2003 Fiat shed its insurance sector, which it was operating through Toro Assicurazioni to the DeAgostini Group. In the same year, Fiat sold its aviation business, FiatAvio to Avio Holding. In February 2004, the company sold its interest in Fiat Engineering, as well as its stake in Edison.
Fiat faces a multitude of threats, including rising steel prices (up by 16-30% beginning of 2008), a strong Euro, and increased competition from Japanese and Korean car manufacturers in Europe. Although the light-vehicle market share of Japanese and Korean automakers in Europe is less than in the US (12.5% and 3.9%, respectively versus 30% and 3.9% in the US), it has been increasing steadily at about a half a percent a year. Fiat has drawn criticism within New Zealand for an advert they ran in Italy, which a New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesman described as "culturally insensitive and inappropriate". The advert showed women performing the haka beside the new Fiat car and crowd noise is in the background to simulate the atmosphere in an All Blacks rugby union match. As the haka is finished a woman drives away in the Fiat car and a boy in the back of the car pokes out his tongue, which is the action used to finish the haka.
Sergio Marchionne has begun to impress investors since taking over as CEO in June, 2004. Losses have fallen steadily since 2002, and Q4 of FY2005 saw its first profit in 17 quarters, and had a profit of 196M Euros for the first 9 months of FY2006. Mr. Marchionne has succeeded more than Fresco in taking an axe to Fiat's bloated managerial bureaucracy and changing its tone to a focus on markets and profits. (Marchionne was raised in Canada by Italian parents.) While the charismatic chairman, the well-connected Luca di Montezemolo, dealt with politicians and unions, Marchionne rebuilt the car business. The success of the Grande Punto model has in large part been responsible for the turnaround in Fiat's fortunes, but the quite successful Bravo (successor to the Stilo) and the new award winning 500 have really cemented it. Fiat has formed a joint venture with India's TATA motors and China's Chery motors, and has started its second innings with a force. Under Marchionne it has also re-entered several large markets that it had exited years before, such as Mexico and Australia. Marchionne has recently confirmed that Fiat plans to return to the United States market by 2010 with the new 500.
Zastavas were not popular outside of Eastern Europe before the 1980s, although they were exported to the US under the Yugo brand as long ago as 1973.
The most famous product launched by Zastava is the Zastava 101, a front-wheel drive car based on the Fiat 128, also available as a hatchback version never sold in Italy. Despite numerous bad press about build quality and reliability, it sold well in Yugoslavia thanks largely to its low asking price, cheap maintenance costs and simple mechanical design.
With the demise of the aged Zastava 750 in 1981, the minicar gap in the Zastava range was filled by the Zastava Koral, which was best known in Britain and America as the Yugo Tempo. It was based on the 1971 Fiat 127, which was due to be replaced by the Fiat Uno in 1983. It was among the cheapest cars on sale in both countries, and it was well received in its class in Britain, but not so much in the more competitive US market. But hostility towards Yugoslavia in the wake of the 1992 civil unrest saw a swift ceasure of imports to both Britain and America.
In 1987, Zastava came up with a new car design. The Zastava Florida - known in other markets as the Yugo Sana - was styled by Giorgetto Giugiaro at the ItalDesign studio, featured a range of refined Peugeot engines, and was mechanically similar to the forthcoming and highly acclaimed Fiat Tipo. It was sold in Britain from 1988 to 1992, but was withdrawn from sale for a number of reasons — particularly the domestic upheavels in Yugoslavia and the fall in popularity of the whole Yugo range in Britain. Sales continued in its homeland, with an update at the end of the 1990s.
Zastava did not launch another new car for another 16 years. The 2003 Zastava 10 model was another Fiat design — this time the second generation Punto. It boasts similar features to the Punto and other cars in its class such as the Volkswagen Polo. It is competitively priced compared to other similar-sized cars, including the Punto on which it is based.
According to Fiat sources a new memorandum of understanding between Fiat and the Serb ministry of economic and regional development about the acquisition of Zastava's Kragujevac plant foresees a new company being set up in which the Italians would have a 70 percent stake and the Serb government 30 percent. Several models are to be introduced to the plant once its upgrade is complete, including possibly the Fiat 500 and the new low cost vehicle that Fiat is introducing to compete with Renault's Dacia brand.
The Polski Fiat design survived until 1991, by which time almost 1,500,000 had been made in less than 25 years. It was a cheap competitor to similar Eastern European budget cars, and by the time of its demise, many Eastern European carmakers were adopting modern Western style designs in place of the archaic three-box saloons that had barely moved out of the 1960s.
FSO was taken over by Daewoo of South Korea in 1995, by which time the FSO Polonez had been replaced by the Caro, which was little more than a facelift of the 1978 design with underpinnings dating back to 1960. This car was sold in Western Europe until the end of the 1990s, and production finally finished in 2002.
FSO had become independent again in late 2000, after Daewoo went bankrupt and were saved by General Motors. Despite this, FSO continued to build versions of the Daewoo Matiz and Daewoo Lanos. These cars remain in production to this day, although the target of the factory is to focus on the production of the Chevrolet Aveo which has already been introduced.
In 1992 90% of stock of FSM (Fiat Auto Poland, since 1993) was purchased by Fiat Auto. since then it produced Cinquecento, Uno, Seicento, Siena and Palio Weekend (see Fiat Cinquecento, Fiat Uno, Fiat Seicento, Fiat Siena and Fiat Palio Weekend) models with the capacity up to 200.000 cars a year. In 2003, FSM become the sole producer of Fiat Panda, and in 2007 of new Fiat 500 model. The capacity was increased to ca. 280.000 cars a year, and due to new investments in 2006-2007 will reach over half a million in 2008. This will enable Fiat Auto Poland to include a new model of Ford in its prodction. It is worth noting both Panda and 500 were selected European car of the year, respectively in 2004 and 2007.
In 1966, Fiat helped U.S.S.R. state industries build a new car factory (AvtoVAZ) on the banks of the Volga river. A planned city called Tolyatti (named after Palmiro Togliatti,an Italian communist) was developed around the factory, which started producing a "people's car" similar to the Volkswagen Beetle and Citroën 2CV of Germany and France. The new Soviet car, called the Lada, however, was a more spacious offering, in four-door saloon and five-door estate variants. Fiat installed British-built machine tools supplied by Herbert-BSA of Birmingham for the manufacture of many Lada parts. The 124's design was mechanically upgraded to survive treacherous Russian driving conditions and extremely cold winters. Imports to Western Europe, Canada, and other third world countries began, and by the early 1980s, the cars began to sell fairly well thanks largely to their low asking price. This car was upgraded to become the Lada Riva (marketing name in some markets) in 1980.
In 1977 the four-wheel drive Lada Niva was introduced which used some proprietary Fiat based components from the car (eg engine and gearbox), but the body and four-wheel drive system were VAZ designs. Off the road there were few vehicles that could match it. The Riva and Niva are still in production today (2008).
In June 2008, Fiat and Severstal's Sollers JSC have formalised a number of joint ventures announced last year to make and sell Fiat cars and engines in Russia. They will make up to 90,000 diesel engines and up to 50,000 Fiat Linea sedans a year. Production will begin this year (2008).
In Turkey, the Fiat 124 was produced under licence by Tofaş as the Tofaş Murat. This was replaced by a version of the Fiat 131, known as the Tofaş Şahin. Today the Fiat Linea car is amongst those manufactured by the Fiat-Tofas joint venture in Turkey, and the company has about 10% of the Turkish car market as of 2008.
in Spain, SEAT was set up with Fiat assistance, producing Fiat models under its own brand name until 1981, when Fiat withdrew its support. However, production of the Fiat-based models continued, with the final Fiat-based SEAT (the Marbella) not finishing until 1996. By this stage, SEAT had become part of German manufacturer Volkswagen after several years of ownership by the Spanish government.
the Fiat 131, known as the Holland Car DOCC.
As part of Nasser's regime he made a way to protect the national economy, he ordered EGID (General Intelligence Agent) to establish Nasr. Producing some Fiat models, then is formed with Turkey new models now which called Şahin till now El Nasr Product Fiat 128 and Şahin.