From the Author: Five Things You Should Know About Fiat
|Author Jennifer Clark |
1. Fiat is four years older than the Ford Motor Company. Giovanni Agnelli and a group of Turin businessmen set up Fiat in 1899, while Henry Ford founded the Ford Motor Company in 1903. Giovanni Agnelli visited for the first time in 1906, and probably met Henry for the first time that year. The two auto barons became friends, and Giovanni kept a photograph of himself and Henry on his desk for years. Giovanni's grandson Gianni socialized with Henry Ford II.
2. Fiat is more than cars. During its peak, its slogan was "Land, Sea, Sky" because it made engines for everything from ocean liners to trains to helicopters to planes. At its peak in the post-war boom of the 1960s, it even made refrigerators. Its engineering prowess was widely recognized. Guglielmo Marconi, the inventor of the radio, worked at Fiat"s Magneti Marelli spare parts company. Fiat now makes tractors and construction equipment as well as Ferraris, Fiats and Alfa Romeos.
3. Fiat was the only company in the world willing to buy Chrysler at the end of 2008. 4. Fiat's Balilla – the precursor to today's zippy 500 – was a "people's car" launched in 1932 that pre-dated the Volkswage's Beetle by about five years.
5. Fiat Chairman John Elkann is the first Agnelli family member at the helm of Fiat who doesn't bear the Agnelli name. He is the great-great-grandson of the company's founder, Giovanni Agnelli.
"But the soul of the book is the 113-year story of feisty Fiat and the larger-than-life Agnelli family. That's when it's time to click your seat belt for a yarn that's rich with affairs, suicides, drugs, family lawsuits, secrecy, hidden assets, offshore accounts, Benito Mussolini, princes and princesses, Jackie Kennedy, palaces and yachts, spectacular weddings, stately funerals and deep family loyalty." (USA TODAY.com
, February 2012)