May 4, 2015 By Mike Lee
Last updated on December 13, 2018

Fiat LogoAbarth LogoBrief History About Fiat & Abarth

Fiat Automobiles was founded in 1899 in Italy by Giovanni Agnelli. Fiat stands for (Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino). In the early 1900’s Fiat started making cars (lots of them), but also added trucks, buses, trams, marine and even aviation engineering to their business. And if that wasn’t enough they even entered and won numerous motor racing events, just before WW1 broke out.

With WW1, came more truck and aircraft engine building.

After WW1 Fiat returned to production of cars, trucks, vans, and even a tractor or two, plus aeroplanes and locomotive engines.

When WW2 broke out, Fiat again went back to producing military vehicles and engines. As before, when the war ended, production of cars resumed and Fiat quickly re-established itself as a mass production automotive manufacturer with over 70,000 employees by 1949.

During the 50’s and 60’s Italy had an economic boom and car production increased considerably with the extra demand for more cars, benefiting Fiat.

Fiat have had such a success with the auto business, that they have bought and sold shares in many other motor manufacturers and businesses. They are and have been one of the world’s largest auto makers, with factories/dealers in most of the major countries of the world.

With purchases of Lancia and Ferrari during the late 60’s and 1970’s, Fiat gets into the mood for motorsport events. In the 80’s Fiat gets to grip with new electronic technology and more economic cars, especially diesels and also acquire Alfa Romeo. With a firm foot hold in sales in Europe, Fiat then start to take interest in more global sales during the 90’s and also acquire Maserati.

In 2003 Giovanni Agnelli dies leaving his brother Umberto to take over, who then dies in 2004, leaving management to take over this time.

In 2007 Fiat brings back Abarth. Abarth was originally founded in 1949 in Italy by Carlo Abarth and built race parts (mostly exhausts) and was initially involved in racing Cisitalia cars and then had associations with Fiat in 1952. Abarth had quite a bit of success with hill climbs and smaller engine races during the 60’s and even had Johann Abt (founder of Abt Sportsline) racing for them. Fiat acquired Abarth in 1971 and so became their race department until 1981, building some notable cars such as the Fiat 124/131 Abarth Rally cars. Fiat replaced Abarth with their own branded race department, but still used the Abarth brand name on some of their sport models, until Abarth was relaunched as a brand with its own department in 2007.

In 2009 Fiat joins with Chrysler in a partnership.

In 2014 Fiat sets up as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), which incorporated the other manufacturers they still had, which were Fiat (themselves), Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Lancia, Ram Trucks, Abarth, Mopar, SRT, Ferrari and Maserati.

124 Spider/Spider 2000 1966-1985

Fiat X19
X1/9 1972-1989

Fiat Strada
Strada/Ritmo 1981-1988

Fiat Uno Turbo ie
Uno Turbo ie 1985-1994

Barchetta 1995-2005

Fiat Coupe
Coupe 1993-2000

Abarth 500
Abarth 500 2008 on

Punto Evo Abarth
Punto Evo Abarth 2010-2013

Abarth 124 Spider
Abarth 124 Spider 2016