Giovanni Agnelli (1866 - 1945), along with some of his friends speculated on producing cars. In 1899, a new company by name FIAT was formed - FIAT being the acronym for Soceita Anonima Fabbrica Italiana di Avtomobili Torino. In English , it means Italian Automobile manufacturing company of Turin. In 1899, they made 8 units of their car fitted with a cylinder, 3.5 HP vehicle , called the FIAT 3 1/2 CV.
1899/1900 - FIAT 3 1/2 CV
FIAT was an active participant in racing and by mid 1900s , they had already toppled the Panhard cars in racing. Vincenzo Lancia (founder of Lancia) was one of the star race car drivers for FIAT.
In the 1920s, FIAT built one of the world-famous car factory in Lingotto. This factory had 5 floors and a test track on the top floor. Raw material entered the ground floor and finished cars appeared in the top floor , ready to be tested in the test track on the top floor. This factory operated till it was closed down in 1982.
Top view of the Lingotto factory
FIAT manufactured many famous models which sold many million copies across the world - Fiat 300, Topolino, Fiat 600, Fiat 500, Fiat 1100, Fiat 124 , Fiat Uno.
The Logo of FIAT - the first and the current -
Fiat acquired Ferrari & Lancia in 1969/70 , integrated Abarth in to Lancia , acquired Maserati in 1993. In 2009 , FIAT started acquiring stake in Chrysler and now has about 60% stake.
FIAT continues to be one of the top 10 Automobile manufacturers in the world today.