Fiat was established in 1899, when a group of investors including the Agnelli family signed a deal to begin producing cars in Turin, Italy.
24 cars of the first 3.5 CV model were produced in 1900 by the 35 staff in the factory. By 1916, Fiats had become popular in Italy prompting the company to build the largest automobile factory in Europe.
Production of Fiat cars stalled during the two world wars during both World Wars the company concentrated on producing weapons for the Italian military. Following World War II Fiat produced new models, such as the 500 and 1400; the Fiat 500 has been in production since 1957.
In 2009 Fiat bought a controlling interest in the U.S. automobile brand Chrysler, leading to expansion into the U.S. sales market. Fiat has acquired interests in various automakers throughout its history, including a half share in Ferrari in 1969. In 1986, Fiat bought Alfa Romeo from the Italian government.
The Libyan Government bought a 10 percent stake in Fiat in 1976 and sold its share back to the Agnelli family in 1986.
The Fiat 500 has been updated throughout its history; in 2012 the 500L model was introduced as a larger version of the compact car.
Since it was introduced in 1981 the Fiat Panda has sold over two million vehicles. A 4x4 version of the Panda has been introduced for off-road use.
Fiat introduced the Idea Model as a mini multi-purpose vehicle based on the design of the second generation Punto model. Different versions of the Idea have been designed for sale in South Africa and the rest of the world.