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Innocenti
Fate scooter sector (independent company) in 1971, car production 1993, using mark 1997
Founded 1947
Defunct 1997
Headquarters Milan, Italy
Key people Ferdinando Innocenti, founder
Industry Automotive
Products Automobiles
Parent De Tomaso, then Fiat

Innocenti was an Italian machinery works originally established by Ferdinando Innocenti in 1920. Over the years they produced the famous Lambretta scooters as well as a range of automobiles, mainly of British origins. The brand was retired in 1996, six years after a takeover by Fiat.

HistoryEdit

After World War II, the company was famous for many years for Lambretta scooters models such as LI125, LI150, TV175, TV200, SX125, SX150, SX200, GP125, GP150 and GP200.

From 1961 to 1976 Innocenti built under licence the BMC (later the British Leyland Motor Corporation, or BLMC for short) Mini, with 998 cc and 1,275 cc engines, followed by other models, including the Regent (Allegro), with engines up to 1,485 cc. The company of this era is commonly called Leyland Innocenti. The Innocenti Spyder (1961–1970) was a rebodied version of the Austin-Healey MKII Sprite (styling by Ghia). The car was produced by OSI, near Milan. In 1972 BLMC took over control of the company.

In 1972 the company's land, buildings and equipment were purchased by British Leyland in a deal involving approximately £3 Million.[1] The British company had high hopes for its newly acquired subsidiary at a time when, they reported to the UK press, Italian Innocenti sales were second only to those of Fiat, and ahead of Volkswagen and Renault:[1] there was talk of further increasing annual production from 56,452 in 1971 to 100,000. However, the peak production under BLMC was 62,834 in 1972, in spite of exports increasing from one (1) car in 1971 to over 17,000 in 1974.[2] Demonstrating their ambitions, the British company installed as Managing Director one of their youngest UK based senior executives, the then 32-year old former Financial Controller Geoffrey Robinson.[1] Three years later BLMC ran out of money and was nationalised by the UK government.

Innocenti J4 Front

Innocenti I4

In 1975, the company passed to Alejandro de Tomaso and was reorganised by the De Tomaso Group under the name Nuova Innocenti. However, with the loss of the original Mini, the Austin I5, and the (admittedly slow-selling) Regent, sales were in freefall. Production was nearly halved in 1975 and were down to about a fifth of the 1974 levels in 1976. After this crisis, however, the new Bertone-bodied Mini began selling more strongly and production climbed to a steady 40,000 per annum by the end of the seventies.[2] The first model had Bertone-designed five-seater bodywork and was available with Leyland's 998 cc and 1,275 cc engines.

Exports, which had been carried out mainly by British Leyland's local concessionaires, began drying up in the early eighties as BL did not want to see internal competition from the Innocenti Mini. Sales to France (Innocenti's biggest export market) ended in 1980, with German sales coming to a halt in 1982.[3] Around the same time, the engine deal with Leyland ended - with production soon dropping into the low twenty thousands. Later models, from model year 1983 on, used 993 cc three-cylinder engines made by Daihatsu of Japan. De Tomaso developed a turbocharged version of this engine for Daihatsu which found use in both Innocenti's and Daihatsu's cars.[4]

In addition to building their own cars, De Tomaso also had Innocenti use their factory capacity in producing bodywork for and providing final assembly of the Maserati Biturbo,[4] Quattroporte, and the Chrysler TC by Maserati. As production kept decreasing, and prices vis-à-vis competing Fiat products increased, Innocenti attempted to stay relevant by adding ever higher and more individual equipment.[5] Innocenti kept building their own cars until 1992. Beginning in 1990, when Fiat took over, Innocenti also sold Yugo's Koral and Brazilian-imported versions of the Fiat Uno (Elba station wagon and Uno Mille) in the Italian market.[6] The marque ended when sales of these rebadged models came to a halt in 1996.[7]

List of Innocenti vehiclesEdit

Austin-Innocenti A40 Front

Innocenti A40

Innocenti 950-S Spider

Innocenti 950-S Spider

ProductionEdit

Year[n 1] 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977
Production 47,760 50,630 61,950 62,834 58,471 60,711 33,061 12,789 38,120
Exports 10 1 1 205 6,690 17,421 11,003 754 10,169
Year 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986
Production 40,719 39,991[8] 39,770[8] 23,187[9] 21,646[9] 13,688[10] 17,151[10] 15,218[11] 12,687[11]
Exports 8,862 - - - - - - - -
Year 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 - -
Production 10,443[12] 10,331[13] 10,100[14] 4,221[14] 10,550[6] 8,600[15] 0[15] - -

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1969-1978 production and export numbers are from Quattroruote, March 1979.[2]
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Worldwide news and comment: Innocenti under the BL wing", Autocar 136 (nbr 3969): 3. 11 May 1972. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Mazzocchi, Gianni, ed. (March 1979), "Il bilancio è migliore di quanto dicano le cifre ufficiali" (in Italian), Quattroruote (Milan, Italy: Editoriale Domus) 24(280): 125. 
  3. (1983) Auto Katalog 1984 27 (in German). Stuttgart: Vereinigte Motor-Verlage GmbH & Co. KG, 245, 247. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 (1985-08-01) Auto Katalog 1986 29 (in German). Stuttgart: Vereinigte Motor-Verlage GmbH & Co. KG, 104. 81530/85001. 
  5. (1987) in Heitz, Rudolf: Auto Katalog 1988 31 (in German). Stuttgart: Vereinigte Motor-Verlage GmbH & Co. KG, 125. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 (5 March 1992,) Automobil Revue 1992 87 (in German/French). Berne, Switzerland: Hallwag AG, 316. ISBN 3-444-00539-3. 
  7. "Innocenti". Austin-rover.co.uk. Retrieved on 2010-09-27.
  8. 8.0 8.1 (August 1981) in Freund, Klaus: Auto Katalog 1982 25 (in German). Stuttgart: Vereinigte Motor-Verlage GmbH & Co. KG, 251. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Auto Katalog 1984, p. 243
  10. 10.0 10.1 Auto Katalog 1986, p. 252
  11. 11.0 11.1 Auto Katalog 1988, p. 289
  12. (1988) in Dackevall, Gunnar: BilKatalogen 1989 (Swedish edition of German Auto Katalog) (in Swedish). Stockholm, Sweden: PM Press AB, 261. 0284-365X. 
  13. (8 March 1990,) Automobil Revue 1990 85 (in German/French). Berne, Switzerland: Hallwag AG, 635. ISBN 3-444-00495-8. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 (March 1991) Automobil Revue 1991 86 (in German/French). Berne, Switzerland: Hallwag AG, 637. ISBN 3-444-00514-8. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 (10 March 1994,) Automobil Revue 1994 89 (in German/French). Berne, Switzerland: Hallwag AG, 590. ISBN 3-444-00584-9. 

External linksEdit

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