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The illustrious history of Fiat

Last updated on: March 26, 2012 13:56 IST

The illustrious history of Fiat

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Fiat was founded in 1899 by a group of investors including Giovanni Agnelli.

Besides automobiles, Fiat has also manufactured railway engines and carriages, military vehicles, and aircraft during its century long history.

Today, the Fiat group is the largest carmaker in Italy and the world's ninth largest carmaker.

Production output: 2,094,048 units
Revenue: 35.88 billion euros (2010)
Operating income: 992 million euros (2010)
Profit:179 million euros(2010)
Total assets: 73.44 billion euros (end 2010)
Total equity: 12.46 billion euros (end 2010)

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Image: Mark Santaw of Woodbridge, Virginia, gets out from his 1971 Fiat 500 in front of a newly opened Fiat dealership in Alexandria, Virginia.
Photographs: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters.

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The illustrious history of Fiat

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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 697 cc (42.5 cu in) 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.

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Image: Fiat's first car.

Tags: Benz , Alessio , Fiat , Turin

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The illustrious history of Fiat

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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.

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Image: A Fiat 500 gripped by an aluminum hand is seen in Italian artist Lorenzo Quinn's sculpture Vroom Vroom in London.
Photographs: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters.
Tags: , Fiat , Europe , Italy

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The illustrious history of Fiat

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In 1910, Fiat established a plant in the US. The cost of a Fiat in the US was between $3,600 and $8,600, compared to 825 the Model T in 1908.

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Image: A cyclist is seen through a part of a Fiat 126 car, nicknamed
Photographs: Reuters.
Tags: US , Fiat

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The illustrious history of Fiat

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Fiat was the largest automotive company in Italy - a position it has retained since.

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Image: Newly delivered 2012 Fiat 500 vehicles sit on the lot at the Golling Fiat dealership in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.
Photographs: Rebecca Cook/Reuters.
Tags: , Italy

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The illustrious history of Fiat

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The Lingotto factory (1912-1925)

In 1916 the construction of Lingotto started under the direction of Giacomo Matte Trucco.

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Image: Lingotto factory.


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The illustrious history of Fiat

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The Factory, the largest in Europe, occupied five floors and had a futuristic test track on the roof. It soon became the emblem of the Italian automotive industry and was completed in 1922.

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Image: A Fiat's logo's are seen at the main entrance of the Fiat headquarters in Turin.
Photographs: Giorgio Perottino/Reuters.
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The illustrious history of Fiat

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Falling back on the domestic market (1926-1938)

During the years of Mussolini's autarchic policy, Fiat too had to rescale its plans for international presence and concentrate on the domestic market.

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Image: A general view of Fiat's Mirafiori car factory is seen in Turin.
Photographs: Giorgio Perottino/Reuters.
Tags: Mussolini

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The illustrious history of Fiat

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In the thirties, trucks and commercial vehicles underwent considerable technological development and at the same time the aviation and railway sectors grew.

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Image: Visitors walk along a display of heavy trucks at the Fiat Iveco exhibition area during a preview day at the IAA commercial vehicles trade fair in Hanover.
Photographs: Christian Charisius/Reuters.
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The illustrious history of Fiat

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Second World War (1939-1951)

During the war years there was a drastic reduction in the production of cars, while the construction of commercial vehicles increased considerably.

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Image: A truck drives by as Marco Santin attempts to fix his Fiat 850 Special which broke down on a roadside in central Milan.
Photographs: Stefano Rellandini/Reuters.
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Diesel (1952-1964)

In 1953 the first Fiat diesel engine vehicle was presented, the 1400 diesel.

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Image: man walks past Fiat cars in Rio de Janeiro.
Photographs: Bruno Domingos/Reuters.
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Economic boom and social unrest (1965-1977)

Growth continued in exports as well as production: the trend showed an increase from one car every 96 inhabitants to one every 28.

In the meantime Fiat boosted its presence in southern Italy by setting up numerous factories there.

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Image: An employee of Fiat works on the new Panda car at the Fiat plant in Pomigliano D'Arco, near Naples.
Photographs: Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters.
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There was also an increase in trade union conflicts: in 1969 total hours on strike reached 15 million.

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Image: Workers from Italy's radical metalworkers union Fiom protest during a one-day strike in Rome.
Photographs: Reuters.
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The Robogate system (1978 to 1990)

In 1978 the "Robogate" system was created. It was a flexible robotised system for assembling the bodywork.

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Image: A general view of Fiat's Mirafiori car factory is seen in Turin.
Photographs: Giorgio Perottino/Reuters.
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Illustrious history of the Fiat brand

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It was the road to innovation and the automation of production.

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Image: An employee works on an assembly line at a Fiat factory in the central Serbian town of Kragujevac.
Photographs: Ivan Milutinovic /Reuters.
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The new cars of the 1990s

After the debut of the Fiat Tempra in 1990, the 500 came out in 1991.

Two years later, in 1993, it was the moment of Fiat Punto (named 'Car of the Year' in 1995) and Fiat Coupe, with bodywork designed by Pininfarina and Centro Stile Fiat.

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Image: Employees work in the Fiat factory at Ranjangaon.
Photographs: Danish Ismail/Reuters.

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The restyling of the logo on Fiat Idea

Fiat Idea was the first MPV created by Fiat but also the first car with the task of communicating the brand's new 'mission'.

Fiat Idea displayed the round logo, renewed and proposed by Centro Stile Fiat to evoke the emblem designed to celebrate the Company's 100th Anniversary.

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Image: Fiat's logo is seen at Fiat Mirafiori car factory main entrance in Turin.
Photographs: Giorgio Perottino/Reuters.

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It was also meant to get across the most significant change in Fiat car design: more attention to high-tech content and intelligent solutions designed to simplify several aspects of daily life in the car.

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Image: An employee of Fiat performs a quality control check on the new Panda car at the Fiat plant in Pomigliano D'Arco, near Naples.
Photographs: Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters.
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Fiat is the largest vehicle manufacturer in Italy, with cars ranging from small Fiat city cars to sports cars made by Ferrari, and vans and trucks such as the Ducato.

Besides Fiat Group Automobiles, the Fiat Group automotive companies include Ferrari and Maserati.

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Image: Employees of Fiat SpA work on new car
Photographs: Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters.

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The Fiat Group Automobiles companies include: Abarth & C, Alfa Romeo Automobiles, Chrysler Group LLC, Fiat Automobiles, Fiat Professional and Lancia Automobiles, Ferrari is 90 per cent owned by the Fiat Group.


Image: Ferrari's Formula One drivers Felipe Massa (R) of Brasil and Fernando Alonso of Spain pose on new Fiat Panda cars during the
Photographs: Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters.
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