Fiat

Fiat SpA (Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino) is the parent company of the Fiat Group and, since July 2011, also the majority shareholder in Chrysler. On 29 January 2014, it was announced that Fiat SpA will be merged into a new Netherlands-based holding company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCA) with the now wholly owned Chrysler Group and that the merger is expected to take place before the end of 2014.

Fiat was founded in 1899 by a group of investors, including Giovanni Agnelli. During its more than century-long history, Fiat has also manufactured railway engines and carriages, military vehicles, farm tractors, and aircraft. In 2013, Fiat (together with Chrysler) was the second largest European automaker by volumes produced, and the seventh in the world ahead of HondaPSA Peugeot CitroënSuzukiRenault and Daimler AG.

Over the years, Fiat has acquired numerous other automakers: it acquired Lancia in 1968, became a shareholder of Ferrari in 1969, took control of Alfa Romeo from the Italian government in 1986, purchased Maserati in 1993, and became the 100% owner of Chrysler Group LLC in 2014. Fiat Group currently produces vehicles under twelve brands: AbarthAlfa RomeoChryslerDodgeFerrariFiatFiat ProfessionalJeepLanciaMaseratiRam Trucks, and SRT.

In 1970, Fiat employed more than 100,000 in Italy when its production reached the highest number, 1.4 million cars, in that country.[3] As of 2002, Fiat built more than 1 million vehicles at six plants in Italy and the country accounted for more than a third of the company’s revenue.[3]

Fiat-brand cars are built in several locations around the world. Outside Italy, the largest country of production is Brazil, where the Fiat brand is the market leader.[4][5] The group also has factories in Argentina, Poland and Mexico (where Fiat-brand vehicles are manufactured at plants owned and operated by Chrysler for export to the U.S., Brazil, Italy and other markets) and a long history of licensing manufacture of its products in other countries. It also has numerous alliances and joint ventures around the world, the main ones being located in Serbia, France, Turkey, India and China.

Gianni Agnelli, the grandson of founder Giovanni 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. He was succeeded briefly by Paolo Fresco, who 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. On 1 June 2004, Giuseppe Morchio was replaced by Sergio Marchionne as CEO.

In September 2010, shareholders approved a plan to demerger Fiat’s capital goods businesses. 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.[6]

In 2010, credit rating agency Fitch cut Fiat’s debt rating to BB- after it had accumulated a debt of around 9.3 billion. In 2013, Fiats debt rating was cut again, this time by Moody’s, to Ba3[7] over concerns European demand was lower and debt was falling slower than expected.[8] The Financial Times estimate of Fiat’s debt at the time was almost 28 billion.[9]

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