Fiat S.p.A is an Italian automobile manufacturer, engine manufacturer, and financial group founded by Giovanni Agnelli and an investment group in 1899. Fiat is actually an acronym for Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino, which in English means “Italian Automobile Factory of Turin.” Fiat has manufactured a variety of vehicles other than automobiles, including aircraft, tanks, and railroad vehicles. Giovanni Agnelli actively led the company until his death in 1945.
Fiat’s first car, the 3 ½ CV, sported a 697 cc boxer twin engine and bared a strong resemblance to the Benz. During World War I and II, Fiat changed gears and began devoting all of its resources towards the manufacturing of machine guns, aircraft and other military items. Fiat’s aircraft designs include the famed Fiat biplane fighter aircraft of the 1930’s as well as the CR.20 and Fiat BR.20 bomber.
Today, Fiat is recognized as the sixth largest automobile manufacturer in the world and as one of the most powerful industrial giants. It manufactures automobiles all over the globe, and has won the esteemed European Car of the Year award twelve times in the 40-year history of the award. Its winning models include the Fiat 124 in 1967, the Lancia Delta in 1980, and the Alfa Romeo 156 in 1998.