Fiat is an automotive Goliath, owning a number of other well-known manufacturers such as Ferrari, Maserati and Lancia. The company has been able to successfully grow and implement new innovative technologies within a broad spectrum of markets.
Fiat Car Reviews
Fiat was founded by Giovani Agnelli in 1899, and in that same year produced its first car, the 31/2 CV, powered by a 0.7 litre engine, which produced 4.2 horsepower. Continuing to grow, Fiat expanded outside Italy and into the American market by 1908, where it represented a luxury model, due to the high price compered to domestic brands. By 1910 Fiat had grown to become the largest car manufacturer in Italy, which it has remained ever since.
During World War 1 Fiat was a producer of supplies for allied forces, with car production returning after the war. The company also went on to produce their first tractor. The founder left in 1921 when the communist party seized Fiat’s plants but this occupation quickly ended. The Lingotto factory opened in 1923, and at the time was the largest factory in Europe. It was also the first Fiat factory to use an assembly line, helping the company to increase production and dominate the Italian car market, controlling 87% by 1925.
During the Second World War, Fiat’s production again moved to military machinery, with the production of aircraft, light tanks and armoured vehicles. At the end of the war the Agnelli family was removed from control of Fiat due to their links to Mussolini’s government, and did not regain a leadership role until 1963.
In 1969 Fiat purchased the controlling interest in both Ferrari and Lancia, before acquiring Alfa Romeo in 1986, and Maserati in 1993. Fiat went on to form an alliance with Chrysler in 2009 and as of 2011 has stake in the company over 50%.
The original Fiat 500 was produced from 1957 to 1975, marketed as a cheap town car, in response to demand for economy cars. The new model, first produced in 2007, sticks to that original idea. This city car is available as either a 3-door hatchback or a cabriolet. There are a number of petrol engines available, or a 1.3 litre diesel option. Its quirky styling has made this a popular city car. A sportier Abarth version is also available for those looking for improved performance.
The Panda is a city car that has been around since 1980, receiving a number of facelifts, and now in its 3rd generation. The first generation of the car was produced from 1980 until 2003, and although it received a few styling changes, nothing was fundamentally changed to the design of the car, aside from mechanical improvements as technology advanced. The 3rd generation of the Panda has come a long way, available as either a 5-door hatchback or van, with a choice of two petrol engines and one diesel. Sticking to the original principle of a cheap, basic car, it is affordable to both buy and run.
The Punto is a facelifted version of the old Punto Evo, which in itself was a facelift of the even older Grande Punto. As such it's beginning to feel its age although it's still economical, good looking and good to drive.
The Punto Evo was a revised version of the Grande Punto, coming onto the market in 2009. The Grande Punto was the 3rd generation model, which had been in production since 2005. It was replaced by the Punto in 2012.
The new Fiat Bravo has been in production since 2007. It is a medium family car, which first appeared in 1995, before being replaced by the Stilo. Due to the disappointing sales figures of the Stilo, a revised Bravo was brought back to the market, similar in styling to the Grande Punto. Available as 5-door hatchback, with a number of engine choices, the Bravo undercuts many of its competitors in terms of price and with mpg over 60 on the 1.6 litre eco models; it can be cheap to run too.
The Doblo is a small MPV first launched in 2000. Now on its second generation, the 2010 Doblo is available with either a 1.4 litre petrol engine or 1.6 litre diesel. Practicality is the focus of this MPV, with sliding doors giving easier access in the rear, and a sizable boot.
The Qubo is another small MPV offered by Fiat. It is derived from the Fiat Fiorino van, and based on the Fiat Greande Punto platform. There is competition from the Citroen Nemo Multispace since it is built on the same platform. For such a small MPV it makes clever use of the space it has available.