Fiat S.p.A. is an Italian automobile manufacturer based in Turin. Fiat was founded in 1899 by a group of investors, including Giovanni Agnelli. During its more than century-long history, Fiat has also manufactured railway engines and carriages, military vehicles, farm tractors, and aircraft. In 2011, Fiat was the fourth largest European automaker by production behind Volkswagen Group, PSA, and Renault and the eleventh largest automaker by production in the world.
Fiat has acquired numerous other companies; e.g., it acquired Lancia in 1968, became a shareholder of Ferrari in 1969, took control of Alfa Romeo from the Italian government in 1986, purchased Maserati in 1993, and became the majority shareholder of Chrysler in 2011.
By 1910, Fiat was the largest automotive company in Italy – a position it has retained since. That same year, a new plant was built in Poughkeepsie, NY, by the newly founded American F.I.A.T. Automobile Company. Owning a Fiat at that time was a sign of distinction.