Fiat S.p.A., an acronym for Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino (English: Italian Automobile Factory of Turin), is an Italian automobile manufacturer, engine manufacturer, financial and industrial group based in Turin in the Piedmont region. Fiat was founded in 1899 by a group of investors including Giovanni Agnelli. Fiat has also manufactured railroad vehicles, tanks and aircraft. As of 2009, Fiat (not including Chrysler) is the world's ninth largest carmaker as well as Italy's largest carmaker.
Fiat-based cars are built around the world; the largest number produced outside Italy are built in Brazil, where they are best-sellers. It also has factories in Argentina and Poland. Fiat has a long history of licensing its products to other countries. Joint venture operations are found in Italy, France, Turkey, India, Pakistan, China, Serbia and Russia.
Agnelli's grandson Gianni Agnelli was Fiat chairman from 1966 until 1996, and honorary chairman from then until his death on 24 January 2003, while Cesare Romiti served as chairman. After their removal, Paolo Fresco served as chairman and Paolo Cantarella as CEO. Umberto Agnelli then took over as chairman from 2002 to 2004. After Umberto Agnelli's death on 28 May 2004, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo was named chairman, but Agnelli heir John Elkann became vice chairman at age 28 and other family members are on the board. At this point, CEO Giuseppe Morchio immediately offered his resignation. Sergio Marchionne was named to replace him on 1 June 2004.
In September 2010, shareholders approved a plan to split Fiat's industrial businesses from the group. Truck manufacturer Iveco, farm gear maker CNH Global NV and the industrial part of Fiat Powertrain Technologies were demerged into a new entity, Fiat Industrial, at the beginning of 2011. Fiat Industrial has a separate listing on the Milan stock exchange beginning 3 January 2011.