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Fiat S.p.A., an acronym for Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino ( ), is an Italianmarker automobile manufacturer, engine manufacturer, financial and industrial group based in Turinmarker in the Piedmont region. Fiat was founded in 1899 by a group of investors including Giovanni Agnelli. Fiat has also manufactured railroad vehicles, tanks and aircraft. As of 2009, Fiat is the world's 6th largest carmaker as well as Italy's largest carmaker.

Fiat-based cars are constructed all around the world, with the largest number produced outside Italy being built in Brazilmarker (best seller). It also has factories in Argentinamarker and Polandmarker. 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 Italymarker, Francemarker, Turkeymarker, Indiamarker, Serbiamarker and Russiamarker.

Agnelli's grandson Gianni Agnelli was Fiat chairman from 1966 until his death on 24 January 2003; from 1996, though, he only served as an "honorary" chairman, while Cesare Romiti served as chairman. 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 28 May 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 1 June 2004.


Fiat Group revenues by sector in 2007
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.


For Fiat branded cars see Fiat Automobiles
Global locations of Fiat Group automobile production sites.
(Including own plants, joint ventures and license production)

Fiat Group is the largest vehicle manufacturer in Italy, with a range of cars starting from small Fiat city cars to sports cars made by Ferrari, and vans and trucks ranging from the Ducato to Iveco commercial trucks. Besides Fiat Group Automobiles S.p.A, the Fiat Group automotive companies include Ferrari S.p.A.marker, Iveco S.p.A. and Maserati S.p.A.marker The Fiat Group Automobiles S.p.A. companies include: 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.marker is 85% 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:

Agricultural and construction equipment

Fiat Group owns CNH Global (which includes Case Construction, Case IH, Flexi-Coil, Kobelco, New Holland, New Holland Construction, and Steyr); and Fiat-Hitachi Construction. CNH is the second largest agricultural equipment manufacturer in the world after Deere & Company. It is also the third largest producer of construction equipment after Caterpillar Inc. and Komatsu. CNH accounts for around 20% of revenues.

Commercial vehicles

Commercial vehicles (Iveco and Seddon Atkinson), buses (Iveco and Irisbus) and firefighting vehicles (Camiva, Iveco and Magirus). For information on their military vehicles, see Ariete.On 17 April 2007 "Fiat Veicoli Commerciali" was rebranded as "Fiat Professional". Some of Fiat's Light Commercial Vehicle products include; Fiat Ducato, Fiat Scudo and Fiat Doblò Cargo. See Fiat Professional for more details on Fiat Commercial Vehicle Products.

Motorcycles and aeronautics

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 aeronautical company Piaggio Aero is controlled by the family of Piero Ferrari, which also still hold 10% of the carmaker Ferrarimarker.

Vespa thrived until 1992, when Giovanni Alberto Agnelli became CEO — but Agnelli was already suffering from cancer, and died in 1997. In 1999, Morgan Grenfell Private Equity acquired Piaggio .
Fiat G91T training aircraft


Fiat, as Fiat Aviazione, was an important aircraft manufacturer, focused mainly on military aviation. After 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. In 1969, Fiat Aviazione merged with Aerfer to create Aeritalia.


The major Italian component maker Magneti Marelli is owned by Fiat, and in turn owns the other brands Carello, Automotive Lighting, Siem, Cofap, Jaeger, Solex, Veglia Borletti, Vitaloni, and Weber; other accessory brands include Riv-Skf and Brazilian Cofap.

Metallurgical products

Production systems

Production systems are made mainly through Comau S.p.A. (now Comau Systems), which bought the American Pico, Renault Automation and Sciaky and produces industrial automation systems. In the 1970s and 1980s, the company became a pioneer in the use of industrial robotics for the assembly of motor vehicles. Fiat assembly plants are among the most automated and advanced in the world.


An insurance company, Toro Assicurazioni, allowed Fiat to control a relevant part of this market (also with minor companies like Lloyd Italico) and to interact with some associated banks. Toro Assicurazioni was acquired by the giant insurance company Assicurazioni Generali and is no longer related to the Fiat Group. Fiat still retains control of Augusta assicurazioni.


Ingest Facility and Fiat Engineering work in various fields of construction, while IPI is a mediation company that also deals with the management of real estate properties.

Information technology

Fiat Group is present in IT fields and in communications with ICT — Information & Communication Technology, Espin, Global Value, TeleClient, and Atlanet.


The Fiat Group owned the Sestrieremarker skiing facilities; the village in the Alps is a creation of the Agnelli family. The Sestriere skiing facilities were sold by the group in 2006.

Publishing and communication

Fiat group also owns important editorial brands, like La Stampa (created in 1926 for the famous newspaper), Itedi, and Italiana Edizioni. Some national and local newspapers are owned or otherwise controlled by the different companies. A specialised advertising space reseller is Publikompass, supported by the Consorzio Fiat Media Center.

Other activities

Fiat Gesco, KeyG Consulting, Sadi Customs Services, Easy Drive, RM Risk Management and Servizio Titoli are minor companies that work for public services, delivering services in economics and financial fields. Other activities include industrial securitisation (Consorzio Sirio), treasury (Fiat Geva), Fiat Information & Communication Services.

Fiat supports the Fondazione Giovanni Agnelli, an important foundation for social and economic research. Palazzo Grassimarker, a famous ancient building in Venicemarker, 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 Sovietmarker territory, with the best known examples in Vladivostokmarker, Kievmarker and Togliattimarker. 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 Tychymarker, (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.

Fiat is also present in the combat vehicle sector through a consortium between Iveco and OTO Melara, their most notable product being the LAV B1 Centauro.


Fiat 3 ½ CV (1899)

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 Poughkeepsiemarker, 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 U.S. into World War I in 1917, the factory was shut down as U.S. 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%.

Corso Dante plant
Mirafiori plant

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 Lingottomarker 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 Sovietmarker counterparts) and armoured 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.

Gianni Agnelli

Among the younger Agnelli's first steps after gaining control of Fiat was a massive reorganization of the company management, which had previously been highly centralized, with almost no provision for the delegation of authority and decision-making power. Such a system had worked effectively enough in the past but lacked the responsiveness and flexibility made necessary by Fiat's steady expansion and the growth of its international operations in the 1960s. The company was reorganized on a product-line basis, with two main product groups — one for passenger cars, the other for trucks and tractors — and a number of semi-independent division and subsidiaries. Top management, freed from responsibility for day-by-day operations of the company, was able to devote its efforts to more far-reaching goals. In 1967, Fiat made its first acquisition when it purchased Autobianchi; with sales amounting to $1.7 billion, it outstripped Volkswagen, its main European competitor, and in 1968 produced some 1,750,000 vehicles while its sales volume climbed to $2.1 billion. According to Newsweek in 1968, Fiat was "the most dynamic automaker in Europe...[and] may come closest to challenging the worldwide supremacy of Detroit." Then, in 1969, it purchased controlling interests in Ferrari and Lancia. At the time, Fiat was a conglomerate, owning Alitalia, toll highways, a typewriter and office machine manufacturer, electronics and electrical equipment firms, a paint company, a civil engineering firm, and an international construction company. Following up on an agreement Valletta had made with Soviet officials in 1966, Agnelli constructed the AvtoVAZ plant in the new city of Togliattigradmarker on the Volga. This began operation in 1970, producing a local version of the Fiat 124 as the Lada. On his initiative, Fiat automobile and truck plants were also constructed in industrial centers of Yugoslavia, Poland, Bulgariamarker, and Romaniamarker. In 1979, the company became a holding company when it spun off its various businesses into autonomous companies, one of them being Fiat Auto. That same year, sales reached an all-time high in the United States, corresponding to the Iranian Oil Crisis. However, when gas prices fell again after 1981, Americans began purchasing sport utility vehicles, minivans, and pickup trucks in larger numbers (marking a departure from their past preference for large cars). Also, Japanese automakers had been taking an ever-larger share of the car market, increasing at more than half a percent a year. Consequently, in 1984, Fiat and Lancia withdrew from the United States market. In 1989, it did the same in the Australian market, although it remained in New Zealand.

In 1986, Fiat acquired Alfa Romeo from the Italian government. Also, in 1986 15% of Fiat company stock was owned by Libya, an investment dating back to the mid-seventies. U.S. foreign policy under President Reagan's administration canceled a Pentagon contract to produce earth-movers with Fiat and pressured the company into brokering a buyout of the Libyan investment. 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 U.S. market. Maserati re-entered the U.S. market under Fiat in 2002. Since then, Maserati sales there have been increasing briskly.

Paolo Fresco

Paolo Fresco became chairman of Fiat in 1998 with the hope that the veteran of General Electric would bring more emphasis on shareholder value to Fiat. By the time he took power, Fiat's market share in Italy had fallen to 41% from around 62% in 1984. However, a Jack Welch-like management style would be much harsher than that used by the Italians (e.g., precarious versus lifetime employment). Instead, Fresco focused on offering more incentives for good performance, including compensation using stock options for top and middle management.

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.

Recent events

Partnership with GM

Over time, most automotive companies around the world have become holding companies of foreign as well as domestic competitors. For example, General Motors owned a controlling interest in Saab Automobile and, until recently, in Isuzu. Fresco signed a joint-venture agreement in 2000 under which GM acquired a stake in Fiat Auto. This made it appear as if Fiat was next, although GM has made joint ventures with other companies (such as Toyota) without acquiring them. Nevertheless, Fiat did not see the GM partnership as a threat, rather as an opportunity to off-load its automotive business. The agreement with GM included a put option, which held that Fiat would have the right to sell GM its auto division after four years at fair market value. If GM balked, it would be forced to pay a penalty of $2 billion. When Fiat tried to sell GM the company, GM chose the penalty. On 13 May 2005 GM and Fiat officially dissolved their agreement.

The current CEO however views alliances such as these as the deciding factor of the future success of Fiat. In 2005 Fiat was courting Ford. In more recent events Fiat is in the process of acquiring 20% of Chrysler (with possibilities of increasing this share) and has expressed an interest in acquiring GM Europe (Opel and Vauxhall).

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 South Korean car manufacturers in Europe. Although the light-vehicle market share of Japanese and South Korean automakers in Europe is less than in the U.S. (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 advertisement it 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.

Potential Takeover of GM Europe
In April and May 2009, the possibility of a take over of GM Europe, a subsidiary of General Motors, was being discussed between the two companies. GM Europe owns Opel/Vauxhallmarker and Saab.

On May 30, 2009, German officials named [Magna] International, an Austro-Canadian car parts manufacturer, to take over Opel. The Opel/Vauxhall partnership is the largest of GM Europe's operations.

Sergio Marchionne

Fiat 500
Sergio Marchionne has impressed 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 for the first 9 months of FY2006. Mr. Marchionne has reduced Fiat's managerial bureaucracy and changed its tone to a focus on markets and profit. While the chairman, 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 award winning 500 have really cemented it. Fiat has formed a joint venture with India's TATA Motors and China's Chery motors. 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.

Partnership with Chrysler

On 20 January 2009, Fiat S.p.A. and Chrysler LLC announced that they were going to form a global alliance. Under the terms of the agreement, Fiat would take a 35% stake in Chrysler and gain access to its North American dealer network in exchange for providing Chrysler with the platform to build smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles in the US and reciprocal access to Fiat's global distribution network.

The new equity holder would have the option of increasing that to as much as 55%. Fiat, the stronger of the two, would not immediately put cash into Chrysler. Instead it would obtain its stake mainly in exchange for covering the cost of retooling a Chrysler plant to produce one or more Fiat models to be sold in the U.S. Fiat would also provide engine and transmission technology to help Chrysler introduce new, fuel-efficient small cars.

The deal is the latest maneuver by Fiat's chief, Sergio Marchionne, who has pulled the Italian company back from the brink of collapse since taking over in 2004. The partnership would provide each company with economies of scale and geographical reach at a time when both are struggling to compete with larger and more global rivals like Toyota, Volkswagen and the alliance of Renault S.A. and NissanOn April 30, 2009 Fiat announced the alliance with Chrysler, at first Fiat will get 20% stake and it can become the majority owner once the government loans are repaid.

Fiat would not have to pay any money for its 20% of Chrysler. On June 7, 2009, the Indiana State Police Pension Fund, the Indiana Teacher's Retirement Fund, and the state's Major Moves Construction Fund asked the U.S. Supreme Court to delay the sale of Chrysler to Fiat while they challenge the deal. The funds argued that the sale went against U.S. bankruptcy law because it unlawfully rewarded unsecured creditors ahead of secured creditors. On June 9, 2009, the Supreme Court lifted the temporary hold, clearing the way for Fiat to acquire Chrysler. See Indiana State Police Pension Trust v. Chrysler for more information. On Wednesday, June 10, the Supreme Court announced that Fiat was now an owner of the new Chrysler Company a.k.a Chrysler Group LLC. Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne has been named CEO of the "New" Chrysler, and Jim Press, who has been with Chrysler since 2007, will probably be in charge of day-to-day operations of the company as Deputy CEO when Marchionne is in Italy.

Enterprises outside Italy

See list of Fiat Group assembly sites

Fiat was a key player in developing motor industries for a number of countries from the 1950s, particularly in Eastern Europe, Spain, Egyptmarker, Ethiopiamarker and Turkeymarker. The AutoVAZ state works Lada products in Tolyatti (Togliatti), Russia, were Fiat based, as were SEAT products of Spain. Lada now is controlled by Renault, and SEAT by Volkswagen. A small number of Fiats were also constructed in Bulgaria. Among Fiat's earliest foreign assembly plants was one in Poughkeepsie, New York, between 1910 and 1913. The building is now part of the Marist College campus.

Fiat Automóveis, Brazil

Fiat Automóveis s.a., a subsidiary of Fiat S.p.A., began making automobiles in Brazilmarker in 1976 beginning with the production of the Fiat 147, the Brazilian version of the Italian Fiat 127, produced until 1986. A total of 1,269,312 units were produced in Fiat Automoveïs factory in Betimmarker, plus 232,807 units in the Fiat Argentina plant of Córdobamarker. This car also were built in the CCA plant in Bogotá, Colombia.

Launched in July 1979, the 147 was the first mass produced car that run on ethanol as fuel instead of petrol. The performance slightly increased and fuel consumption was 30% higher but the cost of the alcohol was a quarter of the gasoline because, at that time, petrol had become expensive as a consequence of the 1979 oil crisis. This version was nicknamed cachacinha (little cachaça) because it had the smell of that Brazilian drink.
In October 1984 Fiat Automóveis introduce the Fiat Uno, as a 1985 model. Currently, the car is sold as the Fiat Mille, as a budget entry-level model, and received its most recent facelift for the 2004 model year. From 1984 until 2006, up to 2,000,000 Fiat Unos were made in Brazil. The production of the world car — the Fiat Palio - began in 1996.

After the successful 2003 introduction of flexible-fuel vehicles in the Brazilian market, Fiat Automóveis launched its first flex model in March 2004, the Fiat Palio, followed by the Siena and Palio Weekend. Fiat sold 665,514 vehicles in Brazil in 2008, allowing the carmaker to continue as the market leader for seven years in a row. Flex fuel automobiles represented almost 100 percent of the car sales in 2008, and 92 percent of all light-duty trucks sold.

In 2006 Fiat introduced the Fiat Siena Tetra fuel, a four-fuel car developed under Magneti Marelli of Fiat Brazil. This automobile can run as a flex-fuel on 100% ethanol (E100); or on E20-E25 blend, Brazil's normal ethanol gasoline blend; on pure gasoline (though no longer available in Brazil since 1993, it is still used in neighboring countries); or just on natural gas . The Siena Tetrafuel was engineered to switch from any gasoline-ethanol blend to CNG automatically, depending on the power required by road conditions.

Fiat Argentina

Fiat has been present in Argentina since the beginning of 20th century. There was a Fiat manufacturing plant in Córdoba at least as far back as 1954 when Fiat entered into a joint venture with two local companies for the manufacture of tractors. In 1959 the construction of a car plant in Caserosmarker was approved, and 1960 saw the production there of the first Argentinian produced Fiat passenger car, a Fiat 600. By 1978 a car manufacturing facility was well established in Córdobamarker, producing Fiat 128s as well as two models which from the Italian perspective belonged in earlier decades, the 125 and the 600R. The current day automobile manufacturing started with a new factory opened in Córdobamarker on December 20 1996. From April 1997 the Siena and Palio models production started.

Production was suspended in the early 2000s as the Argentinean economy went downhill, however in 2008 Fiat invested new money and the production of Fiat Siena saloon was started. The Fiat Auto Argentina S.A. is Fiat S.p.A. owned company.

Zastava, Serbia

Its first enterprise came in 1955, when it agreed a deal with Yugoslav carmaker Zastava to assemble Fiats for Eastern Europe. The first cars to be produced by Zastava were its versions of the Fiat 1300 and Fiat 1400. By 1970, Zastava was producing parts for the newer Fiat 124 and Fiat 125 models, although these cars were actually assembled in Poland. The Zastava 750, launched in 1962, was Zastava's version of the iconic Fiat 600 minicar. It outlived the car on which it was based, with production not finishing until 1981.

Zastavas were not popular outside of Eastern Europe before the 1980s, although they were exported to the United States 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 Britainmarker 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 U.S. market. But hostility towards Yugoslavia in the wake of the 1992 civil unrest saw a swift ceasure of imports to both Britain and America.

The Zastava factory in Kragujevacmarker was later bombed, but was rebuilt once the war was over, and production continued at another factory in Kragujevacmarker.

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.

Four years after its launch, the Zastava 10 has not yet been sold outside of the former Yugoslaviamarker.

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.

Polski Fiat/FSO (Poland)

Fiat automobiles have been made in Poland since 1920. In 1932, the Polskie Zakłady Inżynieryjne started the production of Fiat 508, produced until 1939 also as a military vehicle. In 1936 the licence was extended to include the Fiat 518 model. In 1965, the Polish communist government signed a deal with Fiat to produce selected Fiat models in Poland at the FSO factory in Warsawmarker that had been built in 1951. Production of the new car — the Polski Fiat 125p - began in 1967. It was visually identical to the Fiat 125, but it made use of older Fiat mechanicals which dated back to 1960. The car sold very well in its homeland and was soon exported to Western Europe. In 1978 it appeared on a new five-door hatchback, the FSO Polonez, that made use of Fiat 125p running gear.After 1982, Fiat withdrew its licence and since then FSO badge was reinstated.

The Polski Fiat 125p design survived until 1991, by which time almost 1,500,000 had been made in less than 25 years. It was a cheap competitor for 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 was taken over 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.

The Fabryka Samochodów Małolitrażowych (FSM) in Bielsko-Białamarker and Tychymarker started the output of the Fiat 126 in 1973 and the Cinquecento (see Fiat Cinquecento)in 1991 .

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 the Ford Ka, a joint Ford-Fiat project, in its production. It is worth noting both Panda and 500 were selected European car of the year, respectively in 2004 and 2007.
Fiat 500 & 126

Other Fiat investment in Poland is a joint Fiat-GM venture of Powertrain, producing multijet (see JTD engine) car engines both for Fiat and GM models.

AutoVAZ Lada (Soviet Union/Russia)

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 Tolyattimarker (named after Palmiro Togliatti, former Italian Communist Party Secretary) 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 Birminghammarker 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 some 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. The Riva and Niva are still in production as of 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 was scheduled to begin in 2008.


1967-1971 produced Pirin-Fiat in Lovechmarker, Bulgariamarker.

Tofaş, Turkey

Tofaş is joint venture owned by Fiat SpA and Koç Holding (37.8% Fiat Group Automobiles, 37.8% Koc and 24.3% others). 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 12.1% of the Turkish car market as of 2007.

SEAT, Spain

In Spain, SEAT (an acronym) 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.

South Africa

In South Africa, the Fiat Uno was assembled under licence by Nissan, which marketed it through its dealerships as the Uno, with only limited Fiat branding.


The Fiat 131, known as the Holland Car DOCC.

Helwan, Egypt

Following the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, President Gamal Abdel Nasser ordered the EGID (General Intelligence Agent) to establish a state owned automobile company. Nasr was founded in 1960 in Helwan, Egypt. It began producing some Fiat based models, but later on produced the Tofaş Şahin under license by Tofaş. Until today, both the Fiat 128 and the Şahin are in production in Egypt.

Premier Automobiles, India

Premier Automobiles Limited is a Mumbai-based manufacturer of vehicles founded in 1944. In 1951, the company began producing versions of the Fiat 500 for the Indian market. This was followed by the Fiat 1100 in 1954. In 1973, the Premier name was used on its vehicles for the first time, the Premier President, based on the Fiat 1100 as Premier Padmini. In 1984, they launched the Fiat 124-based Premier 118 and 138D models.

Fiat India Automobiles Private Limited (FIAPL) is a joint venture between Fiat and Tata Motors. It was founded in 1997. Fiat builds the Palio Stile and Palio Stile Multijet in India and imports its Fiat 500 into India from Italy, whereas Fiat has many cars under its hood planned for India like the internationally acclaimed Linea, Grande Punto and Bravo, of which the Linea was released in January 2009 and the Punto in June 2009, both the cars have been well received both by the press and by the public. Bravo will follow in mid 2009. The Fiat plant is situated in Ranjangaon near Pune in Maharashtra and also manufactures the Tata Indica.

Sri Lanka

In 1964-65, the Ceylon Transport Board contemplated production of buses in Sri Lankamarker in collaboration with FIAT. However, with the change of Government in 1965, the CTB opted for a deal with British Leyland.

In 1973, entrepreneur Upali Wijewardena's Upali Motor Company began assembly of the so-called 'Upali-FIAT' 128. However, production ended with the introduction of the open-market economy in 1978.

North Korea

The North Korean car manufacturer and dealer Pyeonghwa Motors assembles two Fiat models under licence since 2002: Hwiparam - based on the Fiat Siena, Ppeokkugi - based on the Fiat Doblò.

See also


External links

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