S.p.A. (also known as the FIAT Group) is an automobile manufacturer, financial and industrial group based in Turin, Northern Italy.
Fiat was founded On 11 July 1899 at Palazzo Bricherasio, the company charter of “Societa Anonima Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino” was signed. Among the members of the Board of Directors, Giovanni Agnelli stood out in the group of investors and won recognition for his determination and strategic vision. In 1902 he became the Managing Director of the company.
The name is an acronym for Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino (Italian Car Factory of Turin). Giovanni's grandson, Gianni Agnelli was Fiat chairman from 1966 until his death on January 24, 2003. However, from 1996, he only served as an "honorary" chairman. After his removal as leader, Paolo Fresco served as CEO and Paolo Cantarella as chairman. Umberto Agnelli then took over the reigns as chairman from 2002 to 2004.
After Umberto Agnelli's death on May 28, 2004, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo was named chairman, but Agnelli heir John Elkann became vice chairman at age 28 and other family members are on the board. At this point, CEO Giuseppe Morchio immediately offered his resignation. Sergio Marchionne was named to replace him on June 1, 2004.
The first factory was opened in 1900 in Corso Dante. 150 workers were employed there and produced 24 cars, among which the 3/12 HP, not yet fitted with reverse gear. The Fiat logo, oval on a blue background and designed by Biscaretti, was adopted in 1904.
Giovanni Agnelli led the company until his death in 1945, while another man, Vittorio Valletta, administered the day-to-day activities of the company. In 1903, Fiat produced its first truck. In 1908, the first Fiat was exported to the US. That same year, the first Fiat aircraft engine was produced. Also around the same time, Fiat taxis became somewhat popular in Europe. By 1910, Fiat was the largest automotive company in Italy—a position it has retained since.