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1899 Fiat 4HP

Fiat History

8th August, 2005

Fiat celebrated its 106th birthday last month (11th July, 2005) with the anniversary of the day in 1899 when Fiat or Fabbrica Italiana Automobili di Torino was founded in preparation for the launch of the company's first car, the Fiat 4hp later the same year.

That first Fiat was designed by Aristide Faccioli and was powered by a 600 cc flat two cylinder engine developing, as the name suggested, four horse power or 2.9 kW. With a top speed of 35 km/h, it carried four people in the rather unusual seat fashion of two seat facing each other.

Giovanni Agnelli founded a family dynasty that is still at the head of the company today with John Elkann as Vice Chairman of the company and Lappo Elkann, who is Brand Promotion Director for the automotive brands. Giovanni Agnelli established his position in the fledging company with his strategic vision for the company and was appointed as Managing Director in 1902. He was to guide the company towards its two main industrial directions, expanding production and diversifying into new markets.

By 1906 Fiat was not just producing cars, its product lines included trucks, buses, trams, marine engines and aircraft. This was also the year when the first Fiats arrived in Australia and in the following year production of Fiat cars started in the USA. In 1910 Fiat took to the race track, winning the Indianapolis 500 with a Fiat S76, the first of many, many victories for Fiat products.

Lingotto, the renowned Fiat factory that became the image of Italian mass production opened, in 1923. It was one of the first factories in Europe to put in place true mass production techniques and its roof top test track on which all new cars were tested, became world famous. In 1926 Fiat diversified into the media with the purchase of the influential La Stampa newspaper, starting Fiat expansion through all areas of the Italian economy. The next generation of the Agnelli family joined the company with Giovanni's son, Edoardo, in 1927 as vice chairman.

The year 1936 saw the launch of the car that became the symbol of the company, the Fiat 500 Topolino, at the time the world's smallest production car. Built in Fiat's new factory at Mirafiori, the 500 was the car that put Italy on the road. After the war, Fiat continued to build world famous small cars, with the Fiat 500 and 600, through to the Panda today.

But the Fiat Group is much more than small cars. Its car brands include Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Maserati and Lancia, with commercial vehicles covered by Fiat and Iveco. But cars and commercial vehicles are just part of the Fiat Group, with the group also including CNH (agricultural and construction equipment), Magneti Marelli (components) and Teksid (metallurgical products), and Comau (production systems), Business Solutions (services) and Itedi (publishing and communications).

At the beginning of 2005, Fiat announced the formation of Fiat Powertrain Technologies, a new industrial unit that will integrate the Groups' innovation capabilities and expertise in engines and transmissions.

Fiat cars will return to the Australian market in 2006. Read about the return of Fiat cars to Australia ..... here.

Fiat 850 coupe
Fiat 850 coupe


Fiat Auto

One of the pioneers of the car industry, Fiat built its first car in 1899. Since then it has produced approximately 87 million cars and light commercial vehicles and many of its models have marked important milestones in motoring history.

Fiat Auto operates in international markets under four brands, all distinguished by their innovative content, style and manufacturing solutions: Fiat, known for its creativity, versatility and practicality; Lancia, which features an elite and exclusive line of models; Alfa Romeo, the combination of sportiness, technology and elegance in a unique design and Fiat Veicoli Commerciali Leggeri (Light Commercial Vehicles), a reference point for easier, more productive and gratifying working experiences.

To round out the range of products and services offered, Fiat Auto's activities include sales financing and a broad array of support programmes for customers and the dealer network.

Fiat Auto has plants in Italy, Poland, Brazil and Argentina. Manufacturing is also carried out through either joint ventures or licensing agreements in France, Turkey, Egypt, South Africa, India, China and Vietnam.

On eleven occasions Fiat Auto models have won the Car of the Year Award, the car industry's most prestigious recognition worldwide. The award has been won eight times by Fiat, twice by Alfa Romeo and once by Lancia.

The continuous, strong thrust toward product renewal of the Fiat Auto brands calls for the launch of 29 vehicles, including new models and restyling, in the 2005-2007 period.


The first Ferrari was built in Maranello in 1947 at the company Enzo Ferrari had transferred from Modena five years earlier when it was given the name by which it is known today. It was the 125 Sport, a two-seater that would go on to win the Rome GP in 1947 and very soon went on to become a sophisticated grand tourer road car. The company has come a long way since then. The year 1969 saw the acquisition of 50% of the Company's shares by the Fiat Group, whose interest in Ferrari rose to 90% in 1988. In 2002, Mediobanca acquired a 34% interest in Ferrari and this interest was then divided among Commerzbank, Lehman Brothers, B.P. Emilia Romagna, Compagnie Monegasque de Banque.

Ferrari's mission, however, remained the same: to build unique sports cars destined to represent the image of Italian cars, whether on the road or on racing circuits.

Annual production is pitched at a self-imposed limit of about four thousand cars. The workforce numbers just less than 3000, while the latest models are the F430, together with the 612 Scaglietti, the new 12-cylinder 2+2 that replaced the glorious 456M, the 575M Maranello, Ferrari's first 12-cylinder road car with a Formula 1 type gearbox; the Enzo, an expression of the cutting edge technology derived from Grand Prix events; the Challenge Stradale, an 8-cylinder, 425 bhp model, which lines up alongside the 360 Modena and Spider, and again is derived from experience on the racing circuit.

The Maranello and Modena plants have recently been the scene of a significant technological upgrade. So alongside the wind-tunnel designed by Renzo Piano in 1997, there is now one of the most modern, "worker-friendly" plants in the world, together with the thoroughly refurbished Maserati plant in Modena. Particularly noteworthy are the new structures dedicated to Machining Processes and Dies and the spectacular Product Development Centre.


Maserati is an all Italian brand with a glorious sporting history: since the very beginning it has been manufacturing fascinating and exclusive cars built in short production runs, outstanding in terms of prestige, technological innovation, styling and performance.

Between September 2001, on the occasion of the Frankfurt Motor Show and January 2002 at the Detroit Motor Show, Maserati presented the new Spider and Coupé models powered by 390 bhp 4200 cc V8 aspirated engines, an event that marked the brand's long-awaited return to the North American market after almost 12 years.

The 2003 Frankfurt Motor Show saw the debut of the Quattroporte equipped with a 400 bhp 4200 cc V8 power unit, a top-of-the-range saloon that combines the qualities of a prestige car with those of an authentic grand tourer.

Founded in Bologna in 1914, Maserati celebrates this year its 90th anniversary and returns to the racing circuits by taking part in the international GT FIA championship with the brand-new MC12.


The first Fiat branded construction equipment product was manufactured in 1919. CNH is one of the world's leading manufacturer of agricultural tractors, combine harvesters, hay and forage equipment and grape harvesters and is among the leaders in the construction equipment business. CNH was formed in 1999 by the merger of two legendary brands: New Holland NV and Case Corporation.

CNH agricultural machinery is sold through the global brands Case IH and New Holland and through the regional brand Steyr. With one of the widest offerings in the business, the agricultural brands of CNH meet the various needs of its customers all over the world.

The construction equipment of CNH is sold through the Case, Kobelco, New Holland Construction and New Holland global brands and covers a wide range of products: backhoes, wheeled and crawler excavators, skid-steer loaders, wheeled loaders, graders, telescopic handlers and articulated trucks.

CNH pursues the continuous renewal of its product offering and can boast one of the "youngest" product ranges of the business in both the agricultural and the construction equipment field.

The models launched were very well received both by the farming community and richly rewarded by the industry. For example, the many awards won at the 2003 Agritechnica fair of Hannover: the Gold Medal to the New Holland CR combine for its innovative stone detection system and for the rotary technology; the "Machine of the Year" award to the New Holland TS-A series in the medium-to low hp tractor category; the "Machine of the Year" award in the Combine category to the Case IH AFX. Gold Medal awarded by the German Agricultural Society to the New Holland CR combine harvester. Awards followed in 2004 by the Gouden Aar for the TS-A Fast Steer system, or the Best of Specialised Award for the New Holland TNV75A, to mention just a few.


Fiat's vocation for commercial vehicles goes back a long way: at the Milan International Exhibition in May 1901 the company had already presented two omnibuses and a trailer for firemen. Iveco was formed in 1975 by the merger of five leading European brands, and was joined by others over the years. Today, Iveco is one of the world's leading companies in the road transport sector and one of the most important manufacturers of diesel engines for motor vehicle and industrial applications worldwide.

Iveco designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of light (2.8 - 6 tons GVW), medium (6 - 16 tons GVW) and heavy (above 16 tons GVW) commercial vehicles for on-road and off-road use. It also produces public transport vehicles, special purpose vehicles for defence and civil protection applications, engines and firefighting vehicles.

The year 2003 got off to a good start when the Company won the Truck of the Year Award for its Stralis Active Space heavy truck and reached the goal of 20 thousand vehicles produced in only 24 months activity at Sete Lagoas in Brazil, Latin America's most modern commercial vehicle plant. In an effort to renew and expand its product range, the new Stralis Active Day and Active Time heavy range models were presented in April followed by the launch in May of the new EuroCargo truck, a medium weight vehicle.

Iveco is also committed to the production of alternative-fuel vehicles. It can not only deploy a complete range of methane-powered engines, but it is already operating the prototype of a new hybrid bus produced by Irisbus: the CityClass Fuel Cell, powered by hydrogen fuel cells, a totally clean, highly advanced technology.

The Company operates in more than 100 countries by way of joint ventures, licence agreements and equity investments. It is particularly present in countries with a high growth potential such as China and South America; in China through Naveco, a joint venture for the production of light commercial vehicles (Daily), and CBC for the production of buses, and in South America where it produces its full range.

Magneti Marelli

Founded in 1919 by Fiat and the Ercole Marelli company, in 1967 Magneti Marelli was bought out entirely by the Fiat Group that transformed it into a worldwide center for automotive components.

Magneti Marelli has recently organized its various businesses into homogeneous groups, the better to focus on its core activities. Consistent with this strategy to reinforce the Sector by selecting and strengthening its portfolio, in 2001 it acquired full control of Automotive Lighting, a leader in motor vehicle lighting, that set up as a joint venture with Bosch. Instead in 2002 the non-core Spares Parts activities were divested.

Today Magneti Marelli Holding SpA operates the following business lines: Lighting, Powertrain, Electronic systems, Exhaust systems, Suspension systems, Shock absorbers, Motorsport and Retail Service. Thanks to this selected range of activities the Sector has become a global supplier with a widespread production structure in Europe, North and South America and Asia, which means it can guarantee absolutely top-level components and systems to manufacturers throughout the world.

Among Magneti Marelli's recent successes are the variable beam lighting units, the hardware and software "heart" of the new Multijet 1.3 16v engine, the patented Flecs suspension system, the Dualogic gearbox and the industrialisation of the Selespeed gearbox, and the SFS twin-fuel engine control system.

And last but not least, the electronic control units installed on the Formula 1 World Championship-winning Ferraris.


In 1978, Comau combined under a single corporate umbrella the machine tool and production system activities that Fiat and other companies in the Turin area had developed since the beginning of the Thirties.

Over the years Comau has made important acquisitions to strengthen its presence in its core business segments (Bodywork, Mechanicals and Maintenance services). Fiat's acquisition of Pico in 1999, (American market leader for bodywork systems) and Comau's acquisition of Renault Automation and Sciaky structurally reinforced the Sector's presence on its principal markets and its position as a supplier to the main automotive manufacturers. At the same time business continued to grow in the area of maintenance services for production plants, both as regards the Fiat Group and other important automotive manufacturers.

Thanks in part to acquisitions Comau broadened its range of services and products to become one of the few "global" suppliers in the motor industry automation field. In fact the Sector can guarantee customers a comprehensive service: product and process engineering, production systems, production start-up of machinery lines, and maintenance to ensure the correct and constant operation of manufacturing plants.

In line with a growth strategy focused on global consolidation and broadening its range, Comau has set up companies in Romania, Russia, South Africa, India, China and Australia in addition to its offices in Europe, Nafta and Mercosur.


Teksid was founded in 1978, drawing together over 60 years of experience accumulated by Fiat in the metallurgical field, the origins of which stretched back to the early 1900s.

From its founding until today the Company, which operates in the field of metallurgical components for the automotive industry, has grown to become one of the world leaders in its field. The Sector works together with the main European and American manufacturers in high technology cast-iron and magnesium castings.

The Cast-iron Business Unit, which has plants in Italy, France, Portugal, Poland, Brazil, Mexico and China, has an annual production capacity of around 750,000 tonnes. It produces cylinder blocks and heads, exhaust manifolds, crankshafts, camshafts and components for cars and commercial vehicles. With annual revenues of approximately 600 million dollars, Teksid's Cast-iron Business Unit is the only operator in its sector to be ranked among the top 75 suppliers to the automotive industry.

The Magnesium Business Unit (the Meridian Technologies Inc. subsidiary) is the world's leading manufacturer of instrument panels, seat frames and other complex body components. It has plants in the USA, Canada, the UK, Italy and China and can boast a worldwide market share of over 35%.

Business Solutions

Business Solutions is the Fiat Group Sector operating in the field of services to business through numerous companies, subdivided into four areas of activity:
Human Resources: outsourcing of administrative management of personnel, training.
Facility Management: management of property and plant systems based on the most efficient solutions and technologies.
Administration and Procurement: outsourcing and consultancy to rationalise administrative processes, services in the fields of motoring, non-industrial risk prevention, customs sector and administrative procedures for listed companies. Services and consultancy for procurement processes: on-line auctions, marketplace and centralised purchasing.
Information & Communication Technology: technological services and solutions for outsourcing information systems, development of eBusiness solutions and telecommunications.

Set up in 2000 after a process of insourcing various activities, today Business Solutions offers companies a wide, comprehensive and diversified range of services and consultancy.

In line with strategies developed by the Fiat Group in 2003, Business Solutions has focused its activity on the captive market, reformulating its field of action. As a result the Sector sold TeleClient to Acroservizi, a company operating in the fields of call centre management, banking and insurance services and telemarketing. 70% of Fiat Engineering was sold to Maire Holding. An agreement was also reached with Risanamento Spa, part of the Zunino Group, for the divestment of a number of properties and investments in property companies, among which an approximately 56% share in Ipi Spa.


Fiat entered publishing in 1926 when the Group set up Editrice La Stampa for the publishing of the Turin-based newspaper, "La Stampa" (founded in 1867).

The year 1980 marked the founding of Itedi, Italiana Edizioni S.p.a., that absorbed all of Fiat's publishing and communication activities.

The Company operates through Editrice La Stampa S.p.a.and, as regards sale of advertising space, through Publikompass S.p.a.

Currently "La Stampa" sells around 360 thousand copies a day and is present on the Internet at www.lastampa.it with its own dedicated editorial staff. The newspaper is edited in Turin and printed at six different printing works in Italy and abroad, one of which is owned by La Stampa. The central editorial staff in Turin is flanked by correspondent offices in Rome, Milan, New York, Moscow, Paris, London, Berlin and Brussels. There are also branch offices in the provincial capitals in Italy's Piedmont, Liguria and Valle d'Aosta regions.

Successful results have been achieved in recent years thanks to a number of initiatives launched to increase distribution of the newspaper and improve the quality of the product, as well as measures to broaden the readership base (competitions in schools and distribution to professional associations).

September 2003 marked the first issue of an improved version of the newspaper's magazine "Specchio", that now has a new format and more pages.

Publikompass is the advertising agent for 25 daily newspapers, 13 magazines, 6 local TV stations, 2 satellite thematic channels, 1 music television, 5 radio stations and 23 websites, maintaining contacts with more than one hundred thousand customers. The head office is in Milan and coordinates the activities of 54 branches and offices throughout Italy.

Publikompass is Italy's leading non-captive space broker in terms of revenues.

It is leader in the daily newspaper segment and can boast a significant presence as far as magazines and new televisions are concerned.

Research and Training

Centro Ricerche Fiat S.C.p.A.

Performs research into engines, vehicles, electronic systems, manufacturing processes and technical-managerial methodologies.

Elasis S.C.p.A.

An automotive engineering research and development company active in Southern Italy and one of the important companies in Europe as regards advanced engineering in the automobile sector.

Isvor Fiat S.p.A.

Operates at various levels in the fields of training and managerial and technical consultancy.

Fiat Geva S.p.A.

Administration of central treasury services and financial assistance to Group companies

Fiat Information & Communication Services S.r.l.

Communications activities and services.

Fiat Historical Centre and Archive

Manages the Fiat Historical Centre which conserves the collection of historical Fiat cars and houses the Historical Archive.

Fiat Revi S.c.r.l.

Activities and services related and instrumental to accounting, to the activation of internal control systems and to procedures to verify their operation.

Fiat Servizi per l'industria S.p.A

Supplies auxiliary services for the management, selection and enhancement of human resources, health service, systems, purchasing.

Sisport Fiat S.p.A.

Promotes and organizes sports activities and manages recreational facilities.

Cedas - Social activity centres

Fiat Media Center Consortium

Planning and purchase of advertising space.

Sirio Consortium

Corporate security services.

Orione Consortium

Security services and company surveillance

Fondazione Giovanni Agnelli

In 1966 Giovanni Agnelli promoted the creation of a cultural and research foundation to commemorate the birth centenary of his grandfather, Senator Giovanni Agnelli.

In December that same year Fiat and IFI established the Giovanni Agnelli Foundation, an independent cultural and research institute for human and social sciences.

It is a non-profit organisation and its Articles of Association assign it the task of "investigating and disseminating knowledge of the conditions on which Italy's progress in the economic, scientific, social and cultural field depends", as well as operating in support of scientific research.

This is an "operating-type" foundation that promotes and carries out research, organises seminars and conventions and publishes the results of its studies in volumes under the banner Edizioni della Fondazione Giovanni Agnelli.

The Foundation participates in the Italian and European cultural debate to contribute to a better understanding of social and cultural change. It addresses and dialogues with the most significant expressions of Italian society and its cultural world, with political forces and public bodies.

The main issues to which the Giovanni Agnelli Foundation is committed today are:
o the process of building Europe;
o demographic and migration studies;
o social pluralism, society and the different dimensions of subsidiarity in Italy;
o Italian communities and cultures in the world;
o the economy and politics concerning research and innovation;
o the socio-economic positioning of Turin and Piedmont.

The Foundation benefits from external contributions made by a team of individual Italian and foreign experts and institutes - a network of contributors that is constantly reviewed and shaped to meet the needs of programmes underway.

The Foundation's structure and cultural programmes include the Documentation Centre on Italian Communities and Cultures in the World and the Foundation Documentation Centre on Foundations, a separate legal entity that acts in association with the Foundation. Another body operating under the umbrella of the institute is the Edoardo Agnelli Centre for Comparative Religious Studies.

2006 Fiat Punto Grande
2006 Fiat Punto Grande

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