This post is one in a series on prominent company nicknames. See all 25, and share your thoughts and memories about Fiat below in the comments.
Sometime in the 1970s, some wag dubbed the Fiat Fix It Again Tony, because at the time the Italian cars were awful -- they were built with cheap Russian steel that rusted easily. Their reputation among American consumers has never recovered.
"Modern Fiats are actually pretty respectable thanks to modernization of materials and manufacturing processes, unfortunately most Americans still think of the old phrase 'Fix It Again Tony' because Fiat has not sold cars in North America since 1982, and therefore that is the last Fiat anyone there has usually seen," according to the Urban Dictionary.
Maybe Fiat's absence from the U.S. market is not a bad thing. Writing in BusinessWeek, Helen Walters described the Fiat Punto as being riddled with design flaws, including one that is a safety hazard. "As it happens, I'm not in the market to buy a car," she writes. "But if I was then the Punto wouldn't make it anywhere on the list."
Looks like the old Fiat joke is not going away anytime soon.