Fiat S.p.A. which is an acronym for Fabbrica Italino Automobilo Turino (which means Italian Automobile Factory of Turin) is an Italian automaker which has been manufacturing cars since as early as 1899. Fiat was formed by a group of investors which includes Giovanni Agnelli. Today Fiat is Italy’s largest car maker.
Fiat India Automobiles Limited is a 50-50 Industrial Joint Venture between Fiat Group Automobiles S.p.A and Tata Motors which was incorporated on 2nd January, 1997. The agreement was signed on 19th October, 2007. The current board of directors for this company has five nominees each from Fiat and Tata. The production plant is based out in Ranjangaon, in the Pune district, Maharashtra and it employs over 600 employees.
Fiat, which holds a 50% stake in the Company, also owns and controls five internationally renowned brands:- Fiat Automobiles, Alfa Romeo Automobiles, Lancia Automobiles, Abarth and Fiat Light Commercial Vehicles, the makers of renowned cars such as the Ferrari, Maserati, Alfa Romeo and Lancia besides the Fiat branded cars.
The roots of Fiat in India are much deeper than FIAL formation. In 1951, Premier Automobiles Limited produced Fiat 500 for the Indian market. Later on in 1954, the 500 was replaced by the Fiat 1100. In 1973 Premier renamed the 1100 as the Premier Padmini and in 1984 the Indian manufacturer launched the Fiat 124 as Premier 118NE and 138D. In the 1990s, Premier bought in the Uno and the Siena under the Fiat brand name.
Fiat launched its Palio in the year 2001, which was probably one hatchback which won the hearts of many and numerous awards as well. The Palio was launched with 1.2 and 1.6-litre petrol engines and a 1.9-litre diesel engine. In its initial stages, the Palio was a hatchback with a peppy engine (the 1.6-litre is still one of the quickest hatchbacks ever sold in India), spacious and stylish interiors, ride and handling a class apart from its competition. In April 2007, Fiat relaunched its Palio as the Palio Stile with 1.1 and 1.6-litre petrol engines and 1.3-litre multijet diesel engine which it was already supplying to Maruti Suzuki to power the diesel variant of the Swift.
The Fiat car range
Fiat 500: In 2008, the auto major began expanding its car portfolio by re-launching the 500 (this time on its own) in July 2008. The 500 is the iconic Italian common man’s car, which was re-launched with refreshed styling and engine. The 500 sold in India is a CBU and is powered by the same 1.3-litre multijet engine.
Fiat Linea: On 14th January 2009, the company launched its sedan called the Linea (which means lines in Italian) with 1.4-litre petrol engine and a 1.3-litre diesel engine. This sedan was the first one to get a new feature called Blue&Me which is basically a Microsoft designed software to pair Bluetooth phones with the car, play music on USB stick with controls mounted on the steering wheel.
Fiat Grande Punto: On 17th June 2009, Fiat launched its most awaited hatchback, the Grande Punto which had changed its fortunes in international markets, and the company expects it to be its trump card in India as well. The Italian car manufacturer had delayed the launched of the Grande Punto to increase its service network across India, to meet the sales demand of its customers. The Grande Punto was launched in 1.2-litre and 1.4-litre petrol and 1.3-litre multijet engines, with the 1.2-litre petrol engine being available only on the lowest trim level on petrol engines. At the start of 2010, Fiat even launched the higher trims on the 1.2-litre petrol except for the top-of-the-line (Emotion Pack). On 16th July 2010, it added a 90hp 1.3-litre multijet engine (apart from the 75bhp 1.3-litre engine) to the Grande Punto’s portfolio, a hatchback for performance enthusiasts.
Fiat Palio Stile: The Italian auto maker discontinued its Palio Stile, when the new Bharat Stage-IV come into existence, and Fiat is promoting its Grande Punto, especially after it started to offer more trim levels on the Grande Punto 1.2.
Fiat Linea T-Jet: This is something very big for the company and even the followers who have been waiting for something that’s quick. The Linea will get a new engine option which is a 1.4-litre T-Jet (petrol with turbocharger) which will produce 110bhp and will be on power with all its competitors when it comes to outright performance.