Fiat, or Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino, currently part of the FCA Fiat Chrysler Group is the biggest car producer in Italy. It was founded in 1899, making it one of the oldest car manufacturers in the world. The Lingotto plant in Turin was opened in 1918 and was, at the time, the largest manufacturing plant in Europe.
Fiat is traditionally a European brand which specializes in small and compact cars, but also has a large presence in South America, where it is one of the biggest manufacturers.
Fiat's history in the United States is one with several ups and downs. In 1908, the Fiat Automobile Co. was established in the country, and a plant in Poughkeepsie began producing Fiats a year later. The New Jersey factory was closed when the United States entered into World War I in 1917. Fiat returned to North America in the 1950s, selling, among other models, the original 500. However, their reputation for poor quality meant that the brand had to leave the US market in 1983.
In January 2009, the Fiat Group acquired a 20% stake in US automaker Chrysler. This deal marked the return of the brand on American soil, and sales began with the modern 500 supermini, which is currently assembled at the Chrysler plant in Toluca, Mexico.
On January 1, 2014, Fiat announced a deal to purchase the rest of Chrysler from the United Auto Workers retiree health trust. The deal was completed on January 21, 2014, making Chrysler Group a subsidiary of Fiat S.p.A.