Automotive industry in Italy

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Fiat 3½HP (1899) is the first model of car produced by Fiat.
Map of automobile industry in Turin, Italy in the 1910s.

The automotive industry in Italy is a quite large employer in the country, it covered over 2,131 firms and employed almost 250,000 people in 2006.[1] Italy's automotive industry is best known of its automobile designs and small city cars, sports and supercars. The automotive industry makes a significant contribution of 8.5% to Italian GDP.[2]

Italy is the one the significant automobile producers in Europe and the World.

Today the Italian automotive industry is almost totally dominated by Fiat Group, in 2001 over 90% of vehicles were produced by it. As well as its own, predominantly mass market model range, Fiat also owns the upmarket Alfa Romeo and Lancia brands as well as the exotic Ferrari and Maserati.

Italian cars won in the European Car of the Year annual award one of the most times among other countries (including Fiat most that any other manufacturer) and in World Car of the Year award also.

History[edit]

The Italian automotive industry started a little bit later than the 1880s. The Stefanini-Martina of 1896 is thought of as the inaugural vehicle of the industry.[3] However, Enrico Bernardi had built a petrol fueled tri-cycle car in 1884. Fiat SpA was founded in 1899 by Giovanni Agnelli and built its first car in same year, the 3.5HP (or 4HP), with a 679 cc engine. It was capable of 35 km/h (22 mph).[4] Isotta Fraschini was founded in 1900, at first assembling Renault model automobiles.

The automobile industry grew quickly and soon many companies were founded, including Zust, Lancia, Aquila Italiana, Diatto, Itala, SPA and Società Anonima Italiana Darracq.

During the first and the second World Wars and the economic crisis of the 70's, many of these brands disappeared or were bought by FIAT or foreign manufacturers.

Fiat 124, 1967 European Car of the Year, the ancestor Soviet (Lada), Polish (Polski Fiat) and Turkish (TOFAŞ Murat 124,TOFAŞ Serçe) mass car industry
Fiat 127, 1972 European Car of the Year, the catalyst of Spanish (SEAT) and Yugoslavian (Zastava) automotive industry

Over the years Italian automobile industry has also been involved in numerous enterprises outside Italy, many of which have involved the production of Fiat based models, including Lada in Russia, Zastava and Yugo in the former Yugoslavia, FSO (Polski Fiat) in Poland and SEAT (now part of Volkswagen) in Spain.

In the 1960s and 1970s Italy restored own large auto industry that was 3rd-4th in Europe and 5th-6th in the World. In 1980s Italy overtook the United Kingdom but has conceded to Soviet Union that, like Spain, Poland and Yugoslavia, found large-volume production of cars by Italian FIAT help.

The 1970s and 1980s were a time of great change for the car industry in Europe. Rear-wheel drive, particularly on family cars, gradually gave way to front-wheel drive. The hatchback bodystyle, first seen on the Renault 16 from France in 1965, became the most popular bodystyle on smaller cars by the mid 1980s. Fiat moved into the hatchback market at the small car end in 1971 with the 127 hatchback, followed by the Ritmo family car in 1978. By the end of the decade, the more upmarket Alfa Romeo and Lancia marques had also added hatchbacks to their ranges. The Italian motor industry's flair for innovative design continued in the 1980s, with its Uno supermini (1983) and Tipo family hatchback (1988) both being voted European Car of the Year mostly in recognition of their up-to-date and practical designs. The Uno was one of the most popular cars in Europe throughout its production life, although the Tipo was not so popular outside Italy.

In 1990s Italian auto industry became again 3rd in Europe and 5th in World with annual output near 2 million (with 2,220,774 maximum in 1989). But in the 21st century it has fallen seriously to near 800 thousand per year and 8th place in Europe and 21st place in the World.[5][6][7]

But Italy stays as one of the significant player of car design and technology and Fiat has large investments outside Italy including 100% stake in the American automaker Chrysler as of January 2014.

Production figures[edit]

Italian motor vehicle production[8][5][6][7]

Year Units
1913 2
1924 35
1928 55
1935 44
1950 129,000
1960 645,000
1961 759,000
1970 1,854,252
1971 1,817,000
1980 1,610,287
1981 1,433,000
1989 2,220,774
1990 2,120,850
1991 1,878,000
1994 1,534,000
1995 1,667,000
1996 1,545,000
1997 1,827,592
1998 1,692,737
1999 1,704,326
2000 1,741,478
2001 1,581,908
2002 1,429,678
2003 1,324,481
2004 1,145,181
2005 1,038,352
2006 1,211,594
2007 1,284,312
2008 1,023,774
2009 843,239
2010 838,400
2011 790,348

Manufacturers[edit]

Italian automobile manufacturers include:

Defunct manufacturers:

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "ITALY'S AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY IS BlACK ON THE ROAD THANKS TO EXPORTS". italtrade.com. Archived from the original on 11 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-06. 
  2. ^ "Country Profiles > ITALY". acea.thisconnect.com. Archived from the original on 11 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-09. 
  3. ^ "Other European developments". britannica.com. Archived from the original on 2 January 2008. Retrieved 2007-12-23. 
  4. ^ "The history of Fiat". carsfromitaly.net. Retrieved 2007-12-23. 
  5. ^ a b OICA: Production Statistics
  6. ^ a b Ward's: World Motor Vehicle Data 2007. Wards Communications, Southfield MI 2007, ISBN 0910589534
  7. ^ a b RITA. Table 1-23: World Motor Vehicle Production, Selected Countries
  8. ^ J. Bradford DeLong. "Slouching Towards Utopia?: The Economic History of the Twentieth Century". econ161.berkeley.edu. Retrieved 2008-02-06.