Many stylish car brands come from our favorite country on the Mediterranean. According to the Italians, cars are an emotional subject and you can see that in the designs of Italian car brands. But the beautiful designs of Lamborghini, Ferrari and Maserati come with a price.
Table of contents
Volume brands vs premium brands
For less wealthy consumers there are also 'cheaper' brands such as Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Lancia. Although these cars are more affordable than their sporty Italian brothers, they are often characterized by a beautiful design.
There is a clear division within these models. Fiat is the 'mass brand', Lancia is the luxury brand and Alfa focuses on sporty models.
Anyone who wants to drive a sporty, beautiful car often ends up with an Italian. In the past, the reliability of Italian cars was sometimes questioned, but that has also changed in recent years.
Connection between Italian car brands
Italian car brands are linked from history. For example, Ferrari once worked at Alfa Romeo and the other brands also have a strong connection. The Italian car industry produced a number of classic models such as the Fiat 500, the Alfa Romeo Spider, Fiat Panda and the Ferrari Testarossa.
Italian car models continue to appeal to the imagination and the brands have many enthusiasts.
At the end of the nineties, many Italian car brands experienced problems. But from 2000 there seems to be a turnaround. For example, Fiat bought Chrysler after the credit crisis and was also briefly in the race for the takeover of Opel.
The company includes not only the Fiat brand, but also the brands Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Lancia and Maserati fall under Fiat.
The Romance of the Italian Car
Many people have a romantic feeling about Italian cars. In the past, they sometimes had to sacrifice something in terms of reliability and failure sensitivity, but the recent international collaborations have also improved a lot in quality. For example, the new Fiat Bravo is of just as good quality as a Volkswagen Golf or an Audi A4.
Most recently, Fiat has emerged as the cleanest car brand in Europe. And the ambitions don't stop there. Fiat is determined to reduce the average emissions of its cars to below 130 g/km, the EU directive for the period from 2012-2015 and well below the average for the auto industry.
What remains of the Italian car brands under Stellantis?
At the beginning of 2021, a merger of Fiat-Chrysler with PSA created one of the largest car manufacturers in the world: Stellantis. In the new constellation, PSA (Peugeot-Citroën) is largely in charge. The question is what this will mean for Italian car brands, especially for the Alfa Romeo, Lancia and Maserati brands.
Although Fiat-Chrysler produces more cars and has more sales than PSA, they have missed the boat with hybrid and electric models. For this, cooperation with the French is now absolutely necessary. The future will show what it will mean for the various Italian brands with their rich history.
These are the most famous Italian car brands
Italian cars are known all over the world. From the mass brand Fiat to exclusive sports cars such as Maserati and Ferrari.
Below is an overview of the best-known Italian cars. But there are more, especially very exclusive brands of sports cars that are only made to order.
Fiat stands for FAbbrica Italiana Acars Turine. It is the largest Italian car brand and the brand that has made the compact and affordable car widely available in Italy, in Europe and around the world. The first cars were produced as early as 1900. In 2014, Fiat merged with Chrysler to create one of the largest car brands in the world. The 'new' Fiat 500 continues to be popular, especially as a second car.
Lancia is a car brand with a long and eventful history. After many successes, Lancia was incorporated into the Fiat family in the 60s. After that, the brand managed to create a legendary status in the 80s through the success of the Lancia Delta in the rally world. But the brand never really got its own face under Fiat wings. Was it a sporty Fiat or a luxury Fiat? In 2014, Fiat decided that only new Lancias would appear for the home market. But according to insiders, there is hope that Lancia will return to Europe within a few years.
Alfa Romeo is the sporty brand of the Fiat family. That's because Alfa (as the brand is affectionately called by enthusiasts) has been involved in car racing from its foundation, like more Italian car brands. Alfa Romeo is the second largest Italian car brand after Fiat.
Ferrari started out as a racing team in 1929 and did not focus on making sports cars until after the war, often in bright yellow or bright red. Since the start of the company, Ferrari has associated itself with Formula 1. Ferrari does not sell 10.000 cars a year, but still achieves a turnover of well over 3 billion euros.
Maserati is an exclusive Italian brand of sports cars that has been around for more than 100 years. Motorcycles were also made in the past. Now the brand is part of the Fiat Group.
Ferruccio Lamborghini got rich in the 60s making agricultural vehicles. Who wouldn't want a Lamborghini-branded tractor? Because Lamborghini was also a fan of fast sports cars and Ferrari disappointed him, he started a sports car brand of his own. And the rest, they say, is history… Now Lamborghini is owned by the German Audi.
The sporty brand Abarth was founded after the war by Carlo Abarth and achieved many successes with the car rally. In 1971 it was incorporated into the Fiat Group and later the brand was shut down. But in 2007 the revival came and the brand started to focus on sporty versions of the Fiat 500 and the Fiat Punto.
Piaggio is known for scooters, mopeds and motorcycles, but once also made cars. During the war, Piaggio even made bombers. The Vespa and the famous Italian tricycle, the Ape, are well-known Piaggio brands. After the war, the brand was able to grow quickly because of the need for cheap transport.
The Autobianchi brand is now defunct. From 1955 to 1996, this brand produced Italian cars. It originated from the Milanese Bianchi and was later incorporated into Lancia, one of the Fiat brands.