The automotive industry in Italy is a quite large employer in the country, it had over 2,131 firms and employed almost 250,000 people in 2006. Italy's automotive industry is best known for its automobile designs and small city cars, sports and supercars. The automotive industry makes a contribution of 8.5% to Italian GDP.
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 owns the upmarket Alfa Romeo and Lancia brands and the exotic Maserati.
In 1888 Giovanni Battista Ceirano started building Welleyes bicycles, so named because English names had more sales appeal, and in October 1898 he co-founded Ceirano GB & C with his brothers Matteo, and Ernesto to build the Welleyes motor car. As they encountered challenges of scale and finance they contacted a consortium of local nobility and business-men led by Giovanni Agnelli and in July 1899 Fiat SpA purchased the plant, design and patents – so producing the first F.I.A.T. – the Fiat 4 HP. The Welleyes / F.I.A.T 4 HP had a 679 cc engine and was capable of 35 km/h (22 mph).
Isotta Fraschini was founded in 1900, at first assembling Renault model automobiles.
The automobile industry grew quickly and manufacturers included Aquila Italiana, Fratelli Ceirano, Società Anonima Italiana Darracq - Darracq, Diatto, Itala, Junior, Lancia, Società Ceirano Automobili Torino, S.T.A.R. Rapid, SPA, and Zust.
During the first and the second World Wars and the economic crisis of the 1970s, many of these brands disappeared or were bought by FIAT or foreign manufacturers.
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 or 4th in Europe and 5th or 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.
The Uno's replacement, the Punto, was launched at the end of 1993 and achieved similar success to its predecessor, while its earlier Cinquecento played a big part in boosting the size of the city car sector in Europe during the 1990s. It entered the new compact MPV market in 1998 with the quirky six-seater Multipla, having already entered the full size MPV market halfway through the decade with the Eurovan as part of a venture with Peugeot.
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 2011 it fell below 800,000 for the first time in half a century and is now 6th place in Europe and 19st place in the World.
Italy today remains one of the significant players of car design and technology, and Fiat has large investments outside Italy including 100% stake in the American automaker Chrysler as of January 2014. Fiat's fortunes have been helped since 2007 by the huge success across Europe of its new Fiat 500 city car, although the 500 is manufactured in Poland and Mexico, rather than in Italy.
Italian automobile manufacturers include:
Alcantara is the coating material with registered trademark, the result of a unique and patented technology, manufactured and marketed by Alcantara SpA . Totally Made in Italy and Carbon Neutral certified, Alcantara is applied in the design, fashion, accessories, consumer electronics, automotive and in the marine industry.The material was developed in the early 1970s by Miyoshi Okamoto, a scientist working for the Japanese chemical company Toray Industries. It was based on the same technology as another product from the same company named Ultrasuede. Around 1972, a joint venture between Italian chemical company ENI and Toray formed Alcantara SpA in order to manufacture and distribute the material. The company is now owned by Toray and Mitsui.
Alcantara is produced by combining an advanced spinning process (producing very low denier bi-component "islands in the sea" fiber) and chemical and textile production processes (needle punching, buffing, impregnation, extraction, finishing, dyeing, etc.) which interact with each other.Alkè
Alkè is an Italian truck, electric vehicles, and diesel engine manufacturer based in Padua, Italy. The company was created in 1992.B Engineering
B Engineering is a small-volume automobile manufacturer located in Italy. It is made up of several former employees of the Bugatti firm when it was under the leadership of Romano Artioli.Bologna Motor Show
The Bologna Motor Show (known as the "Salone internazionale dell'auto e della moto di Bologna" in Italian) is an auto show scheduled to be held annually in December, in Bologna, Italy.
The editions of 2009 and 2012 were the shortest events in its history, whereas the editions of 2013 and 2015 were not held due to unfavourable economic conditions initially, and a lack of planning by new organizers and diminished interest by exhibitors, respectively. The edition of 2018 was also cancelled as well.
As its name in Italian suggests, the Bologna Motor Show also plays the role of an annual Motorbike Exhibition, incorporating bicycle exhibitors for the first time in 1994.Another highlight is its various motorsport competitions, which see the participation of leading drivers and motorbike riders. From 1988 to 1996, the main event was a Formula 1 single elimination competition, with competitors like Rubens Barrichello, Johnny Herbert, Gabriele Tarquini and Giancarlo Fisichella. From 1997 to 2007, it featured the Euro Formula 3000, with drivers like Thomas Biagi, André Lotterer and Marco Bonanomi.Borrani
Ruote Borrani S.p.A. (established 1922 in Milano) is an Italian manufacturer of wheels, famous for supplying Rudge-Whitworth design single-nut lockable wire wheels to many Italian racing cars and luxury cars until the 1960s.Brembo
Brembo S.p.A. is an Italian manufacturer of automotive brake systems, especially for high-performance cars and motorcycles based in Bergamo, near Milan.Carrozzeria Barbi
Carrozzeria Barbi is an Italian bus manufacturer, with headquarters in Mirandola, near Modena.Carrozzeria Boneschi
Carrozzeria Boneschi S.r.L. (established 1919 near Milano) is an Italian coachbuilder, mainly of commercial vehicles. Until 1960, the company was mostly involved with automobile manufacturers such as Talbot, Rolls Royce, Alfa Romeo, Lancia and Fiat. It was established in Milano by Giovanni Boneschi, moving to Cambiago in (1933). The factory was rebuilt after World War II (1946), after which Boneschi died. Among its designers and directors in the later years was Dr. Bruno Pezzaglia.FCA Italy
FCA Italy S.p.A. (formerly Fiat Group Automobiles S.p.A.) is the Italian subsidiary of the Italian-American automaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, dedicated to the production and selling of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles and headquartered in Turin, Italy.Fioravanti (automotive)
Fioravanti is an Italian automotive design studio in Moncalieri outside the city of Turin. The company began in 1987 as an architectural practice working on projects in Japan, and since 1991, it has focused its activities on automotive design.
Fioravanti was founded by C.E.O. Leonardo Fioravanti, who worked twenty-four years with Pininfarina on such vehicles as the Ferrari Daytona, Ferrari Dino, Ferrari 512 Berlinetta Boxer, the Ferrari 308 GTB, Ferrari 288 GTO and the Ferrari F40.Fornasari
Fornasari was an Italian car manufacturer that was created in 1999 by Giuseppe Fornasari. The company made sports cars and SUVs. On 9 September 2015 Fornasari was declared bankrupt by the Tribunal of Vicenza.Giottiline
Giottiline is an Italian mobile home manufacturer and producer of the small scissor doored minicar the Giottiline Ginko. It produces also recreational vehicles.Grecav
Grecav is an Italian automobile and farm machinery manufacturer from Gonzaga, province of Mantua. The company produces, among other things, light motor vehicles. The company was founded in 1964 by Cav. Bruno Grespan (current President) through the merger of two companies; Fratelli Grespan S.n.c. (founded in 1956) and Cavalletti S.n.c. (founded in 1922).I.DE.A Institute
I.DE.A Institute (acronym, Institute of Development in Automotive Engineering) is an automobile design and engineering company in Turin, Italy, founded in 1978. The Rieter Holding Ltd took full control of the company in 2002. In 2010, Rieter sold the company to the Swiss investment group Quantum Kapital AG.Italcar
Italcar is an Italian company based in Turin who produces and distributes electric vehicles.Magneti Marelli
Magneti Marelli S.p.A. (pronounced [maɲˈɲɛːti maˈrɛlli]) is an Italian developer and manufacturer of high-tech components for the automotive industry.
Magneti Marelli is headquartered in Corbetta, Italy, and includes 86 manufacturing plants, 12 R&D centres and 26 application centers in 19 countries—with 43,000 employees and a turnover of 7.9 billion euro in 2016..
It was a subsidiary of Fiat (now FCA Italy) from 1967 to 2018.
On 22 October 2018 FCA announced Magneti Marelli was being bought by the Japanese automotive company Calsonic Kansei for $7.2 billion in a deal that would create one of the world's largest auto parts suppliers
Subsidiaries and brands of the company include AL-Automotive Lighting, Carello, Cromodora, Cofap, Ergom Automotive, Jaeger, Mako Elektrik, Paraflu, Securvia, Seima, Siem SpA, Solex, Veglia Borletti, Vitaloni, Weber.OZ Group
OZ Group is an Italian company founded in 1971 that produces car and motorcycle wheels, specifically alloy wheels. They are an OEM supplier to a number of manufacturers in addition to aftermarket sales and are a prominent wheel supplier in motorsport.SPICA
SPICA S.p.A. (Società Pompe Iniezione Cassani & Affini) was an Italian manufacturer of fuel injection systems.