The Italian Connection

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The Fiat Group is a major key player not just in automotive production, but also with various joint ventures and license productions as well. It is the largest vehicle manufacturer in Italy, a distinction it had retained since 1910. It also meant simultaneously owning plants not just for cars but for industrial and agricultural vehicles as well. Aside from the small Fiat city cars that dominate the cities in Europe, it has several partnerships, acquisitions and alliances with other giant European carmakers such as Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Chrysler, Lancia, Ducato and Ferrari. Its CEO, Sergio Marchionne has since steered the company into being one of the top five automakers who have survived and garnered success over the years. It was even tagged in 1968 as “the most dynamic automaker in Europe”. An understatement considering Fiat made military machinery, vehicles, and aircraft during World War I and II. Fiat stands for Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino or Italian Automobile Factory of Turin.

 

Car of The Year

 

No other car manufacturer in Europe has been awarded 12 times as European Car of the Year in the span of 40 years. These Fiat car models were Alfa Romeo, Fiat Bravo/Brava, Fiat Punto, Fiat Panda, Fiat 500, Fiat Uno, Lancia Delta and Fiat 124, 128, and 127. Alfa Romeo cars are known for being one of the best looking cars of its time. Its world-renowned main features are its exterior and interior styling, which is the benchmark for Alfa Romeo cars, including a highly developed platform and suspension system. Fiat Bravo and Brava cars are small family cars that known for precise handling and better comfort in terms of driving experience. The Fiat Panda on the other hand is your basic “modern day” car, a basic no frills utility vehicle. It may have a cheap, “boxy look” in the early years but it is utilitarian and practical in many aspects. In Europe, it could be seen as Polish police cars, Italian forest service cars, and Swiss postal mail delivery service cars. Fiat Punto is a super mini car popular among amateur racing car drivers low cost and easy availability of its spare parts. Lancia Delta is a compact luxury car best known for dominating the World Rally Championships in late 80’s and early 90’s. The Fiat 500 is a city car that known for its enormous practicality making it a popular vehicle in Europe. Compare these to the models that are sold in the states like the 500 L and the Abarth, which can be seen online at Pomoco FIAT of Newport News.

 

Moving Further

 

With the Japanese and US automakers wanting a larger share of the car market, Fiat and Lancia cars were consequently withdrawn in the US market particularly in 1984. Even Alfa Romeo exited the US market in 1995, while Maserati sales increased briskly since 2002. Fiats worldwide operations makes it Italy’s largest industrial concern and continues to do so as plans of expanding to third world markets are in their time table.

 

Fiat, to date, continues to produce luxury cars but has now expanded into manufacturing smaller cars as well. With its success as one of the top European auto manufacturers in the world, it is certain that it would continue on with its heritage of excellence in design and superior performance in any car class.

Author: Dicky Phillips

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