Bianchi was founded by Edoardo Bianchi in 1885, and began producing cars before the turn of the century. After World War II, the company wished to restart automobile production, but was unable to due to economic conditions. It turned to Pirelli and Fiat, proposing a joint venture with the Bianchi family holding 33 per cent. The new company would create premium cars and served as a test-bed for new ideas and technologies (such as the hatchback configuration and front-wheel-drive mated to a transverse engine). Bianchi sold its stake in 1968 and the company became part of Fiat, which structured it with its newly acquired Lancia. The last models were sold as Lancias in most export markets, and the brand disappeared altogether in 1996.