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Finding the farthest-flung Fiats

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Photo courtesy FCA.

After our recent-ish story on the end of Zastava, we got to thinking which Fiat model was most successful not necessarily in its home market, but abroad, built under license or some other agreement by non-Fiat carmakers.

And there’s definitely a lot of models to choose from. Fiats, in a way, were the postwar equivalent of the Austin Seven – sold on practically every continent under dozens of different badges. But how to define most successful? Is it the model produced on the greatest number of assembly lines? The one built in the largest numbers? Or the one assembled by the widest variety of carmakers? Let’s take a look:

(Note that this doesn’t cover coachbuilt or tuned versions of the below models, nor does it count versions exported by Fiat, only the rebadged and license-built versions. Nor does it include unlicensed “inspired-by” vehicles like the ZAZ 965. Nor does it cover every Fiat model built by other companies, just the most well known examples. Maybe we can run down some of those other versions another day.)

Fiat Nuova 500
Built by Fiat: 1957-1975 in Turin, Desio, and Termini Imerese; production of 3.9 million
Built abroad: 1957-1977
Alternate versions: Autobianchi Bianchina/Giardiniera (1957-1970/1970-1977), NSU-Fiat/Neckar Weinsberg 500 and Panorama (1959-1963), Puch 500 (1957-1975)
Production: 341,000 est.

Fiat 600
Built by Fiat: 1955-1969 in Turin; production of 2.7 million
Built abroad: 1956-1985
Alternate versions: SEAT 600/800 (1957-1973), NSU-Fiat/Neckar Jagst 600/770 and Riviera (1956-1967), Zastava 750/850 (1955-1985), various South American assemblers (1960-1982)
Production: 2.2 million est.

Fiat 1100
Built by Fiat: 1953-1969 in Turin
Built abroad: until 2000
Alternate versions: Neckar Europa (unknown dates), Premier Padmini (1964-2000)
Production: unknown

Fiat 126
Built by Fiat: 1972-1979 in Cassino and Termini Imerese; production of 1.35 million
Built abroad: 1973-2000
Alternate versions: Puch 126 (1973-1975), FSM Polski Fiat 126p and Niki (1973-2000), Zastava 126 (unknown dates)
Production: 3.3 million est.

Fiat 127
Built by Fiat: 1971-1983 in Turin; total production unknown
Built abroad: 1969-2008
Alternate versions: SEAT 127 (1972-1984), FSM Polski Fiat 127p (1973-1975), Zastava Koral/Yugo (1971-2008), Autobianchi A112 (1969-1986), various South American assemblers (until 1996)
Production: 4.7 million

Fiat 124/125
Built by Fiat: 1966-1974 in Turin (124); 1967-1972 in Turin (125); total production unknown
Built abroad: 1966-2012
Alternate versions: SEAT 124 (1968-1980), VAZ 2100 series aka Lada 1200/1300/1500/1600/Riva (1966-2012), Premier 118NE (1985-2001), Pirin-Fiat (1967-1971), Tofaş Murat 124/Serçe (1971-1994), KIA Fiat 124 (1970-1975), FSM Polski Fiat 125p / FSO Polonez (1967-1991), Zastava 125PZ (unknown dates), Nasr 125 (until 1983), SOMACA 125 (unknown dates), various South American assemblers (1970-1982)
Production: at least 17.4 million


1974 Fiat 124 TC. Photo from the Hemmings archives.

So, yeah, there’s your answer. Even though we fudged a bit with the 127 (which was loosely based on the A112, and on which the Koral/Yugo was rather loosely based), its production total, legacy, and global spread couldn’t come close to the 124. Thank the Russians, who took the 124, transmogrified it into the VAZ 2100 series – known as the Zhiguli within Russia and as the Lada for export purposes – and kept it in production for almost half a century, making it the best-selling car in Russia and one of the best-selling cars of all time, even without Fiat’s 124/125 production totals factored in.

Got any facts and figures to add to this list? Let us know in the comments and we’ll plug ’em in.