The history of FIAT is a particularly storied one, even in the iconic world of automaking. They filed all the proper paperwork out in 1899 to become an official company. The first model, the FIAT 3 ½ CV, emerged a year later. They sold 24 units that year. It wasn’t long after that that FIAT made its entrance in the United States in 1908.
Both World Wars affected the company greatly. For WWI, FIAT diverted a lot of their production powers to making weapons and aircrafts for the Allied powers.
During WWII, many of the FIAT manufacturing plants were destroyed. The automaker quickly recovered, though, and the FIAT 500 and the FIAT 1400 became instant hits as soon as they debuted. They were the first FIAT models that featured ventilation systems. The FIAT 171 emerged in 1971, featured front-wheel drive—a first for FIAT—and was subsequently named Car of the Year.
FIAT left the United States in 1974. Over thirty years later, the brand made their triumphant return in 2011 with the redesigned FIAT 500.
Today, over 1 million FIAT vehicles have been sold since the automaker’s inception. The brand continues to create great, stylish cars that are popular the world over.