A look inside the facility responsible for the super-cool Fiat 500, among other things.
May 24, 2012
by Matt Powell, Assistant Editor
TORINO, Italy: There’s no doubting Italy’s ability to produce beautiful, functional and efficient cars. Some of the world’s most famous brands come from the country, including Ferrari, Lamborghini, Alfa Romeo, and of course Fiat (the most modest of the bunch).
It was only fitting that the PLANT’s recent media delegation hosted by Machines Italia and the Italian Trade Commission should stop over in Torino to visit the facility that’s responsible for that little car that’s seen on Canadian roads, it’s uber-cool 500 model.
The Torino-based company is most widely known for its cars, but it has also dabbled in the world of aerospace and rail as well.
FIAT, short for Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino, is serious about innovation – so much so it manages seven facilities across Italy that focus on the details of its product offerings that differentiate the vehicles from the competition.
The company’s innovation efforts are based out of the Centro Ricerche Fiat (CRF) in Torino, established in 1978. This is where FIAT products, processes and methodologies are created. Spread across seven sites around Italy, Fiat’s research group now holds patents for almost 2,800 innovations.
At those seven sites, the company focuses on innovations pertaining to plastics, nanotechnologies, info-telematics, diesel and methane gas engines, internal combustion engines and special materials.
CRF as the main hub develops and transfers strategies on how to commercialize innovations across the group to make them competitive. The facility employs almost 1,000 people, of which 600 are engineers.
One of PLANT’s new friends, Sylvie Barak from one of our US counterparts, Design News, was gracious enough to provide the video below with CRF’s general manager, Stefano Re Fiorentin. Listen closely at around the 7:20 mark to catch Re Fiorentin explain Fiat’s collaboration with the University of Windsor and Politechnico di Torino, both of which have partnered to offer a hands-on, mechanical engineering program that allows students to work at CRF.
Until next time, arrivederci!
Check out more PLANT takes on Italy coverage below: