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Torino-based car-making corporation is tied closely to Italy, producing many of the country’s cars since 1899. Fiat—or Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino—is known for motorizing Italians, especially with its small cars such as the 500 Topolino, and the postwar nuova 500, or Bambina. Fiat’s strength for the postwar years has remained in smaller vehicles, which have included the 124, 128, 127, Panda, Uno and Punto. Occasionally its larger cars win acclaim, such as the glorious Fiat 8C, Ferrari-powered Dino and 130, but Fiat tends to return to its roots when soul-searching.

Fiat has acquired numerous other brands, including Alfa Romeo, Autobianchi, Innocenti, Lancia, Ferrari and Maserati, bringing virtually all Italian automobile manufacture under its control.

The corporation has become involved in aerospace and other sectors but the car division has been its core. In recent years, Fiat has seen its domestic market share decline, and it seems to go from boom to bust frequently. A brief flirtation with GM has resulted in some common engines, while there has been platform-sharing with Ford with the latest 500. Right now, Fiat’s fortunes have been restored and the range is strong, with Alfa Romeo and Lancia preparing for their turns in the limelight.

q.v. SEAT

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