Fiat started car production in 1899, in Turin, and at one time was one of the world's largest commercial operations. While models such as the Fiat 500 are extremely popular, the company's days of domination of the Italian car market are long gone.

Current models such as the Fiat Punto Evo are good, but they can't claim to be class-leading, which makes the company's merger with Chrysler all the more interesting, as the American concern seems to lurch from one crisis to another. Still, as long as Fiat can continue to produce gems such as the Fiat Panda, it'll be fine.