Car Design History - Automobile manufacturer
Alfa Romeo and Ferrari have made Italian
cars famous for their luxurious, sporty design, Fiat has turned Italy
into a nation of motorists. The Turin automobile manufacturer's 500,
developed by Dante Giacosa, was introduced in
1936 at a widely affordable price of 8,900 lire. With its thirteen-horsepower
engine and light, 1,100 pound weight, the "Topolino"
was the world's smallest car; by 1954 half a million had been sold. The
popular model was twice relaunched in updated versions, first as the Nuova
500 in 1957 and again in the 1990s as the Cinquecento.
The Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino was established in 1899. Like
many other car manufacturers it concentrated on the production of expensive
luxury vehicles and race cars during its early years. Giovanni Agnelli,
one of the company's founders, quickly came to recognize the industry's
broader potential, and in 1912 the Fiat Zero series went into production,
Italy's answer to Ford's Model T. By the early 1930s Fiat had
developed into Italy's leading car manufacturer and began to focus on
an emerging mass market with family sedans like the 1932 Balilla.
But Fiat also continued to make luxury cars, hiring car-body stylists
like Bertone and PininFarina
to design sleek sports cars such as the elegantly streamlined Fiat 1500
With the economic boom of the mid-1950s, a golden era began for the carmaker.
In 1961,90 percent of all cars sold in Italy were made by Fiat; between
1969 and 1973 the company more than doubled its output. After the 1974
oil crisis, low fuel consumption was suddenly as important as attractive
design. Two hugely successful models were introduced in the eighties:
the 1980 Fiat Panda, designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro,
made a stir with its stripped-down look that e mphasized the car's practical
value. It was followed by Giugiaro's inexpensive 1983 Fiat Uno,
which became the quintessential subcompact.
decades, the Fiat group has taken over its former competitors Lancia
and Alfa Romeo, and acquired a majority stake in Ferrari.
In addition to cars, it manufactures trucks, buses, and utility vehicles,
constructs dams, tunnels, satellites, and rocket engines, and develops
pacemakers, lighting, robot technology, and computer systems for the health-care
Auto spa, Turin
by Giovanni Agnelli and others in Turin
plant (until 1921)
||Senator Giovanni Agnelli passed away.
||Centro Stile design center established
||Giovanni Agnelli, Giovanni's grandson
becomes managing director and, in 1966, chairman
||City Taxi by Pio Manzu at Centro
of Lancia and Ferrrari
plant was closed (turned into convention center)
||Purchase of Palazzo Grassi in Venice;
turned into museum
||Fiat buys Alfa Romeo
Car Models History
V racing car
subcompact; Seicento subcompact