Fiat S.p.A., (Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino) (Italian Automobile Factory of Turin), is an Italian automobile manufacturer based in Turin. Fiat was founded in 1899 by a group of investors including Giovanni Agnelli. During its more than a century long history, Fiat has also manufactured railway engines and carriages, military vehicles, and aircraft. As of 2009, the Fiat group (not inclusive of its subsidiary Chrysler) was the world’s ninth largest carmaker and the largest in Italy.
Fiat-based cars are built around the world. Outside Italy, the largest country of production is Brazil, where the Fiat brand is the market leader. The group also has factories in Argentina and Poland and a long history of licensing production of its products in other countries. It also has numerous alliances and joint ventures around the world, the main ones being located in Italy, France, Turkey, Serbia, India and China.
Agnelli’s grandson Gianni Agnelli was Fiat’s chairman from 1966 until 1996; he then served as honorary chairman from 1996 until his death on 24 January 2003, during which time Cesare Romiti served as chairman. After their removal, Paolo Fresco served as chairman and Paolo Cantarella as CEO. Umberto Agnelli then took over as chairman from 2003 to 2004. After Umberto Agnelli’s death on 28 May 2004, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo was named chairman, with Agnelli heir John Elkann becoming vice chairman (at the age of 28), and other family members also serving on the board. At this point, CEO Giuseppe Morchio resigned, and Sergio Marchionne was named to replace him on 1 June 2004.
Shareholders Approved Plan
In September 2010, shareholders approved a plan to split Fiat’s capital goods businesses from the group. Agricultural and construction equipment manufacturer CNH Global NV, truck maker Iveco, and the industrial and marine division of Fiat Powertrain Technologies were spun off into a new group on 1 January 2011. The parent company, Fiat Industrial S.p.A., was listed on the Milan stock exchange on 3 January 2011.