In 1937, a military truck production plant opened in Bolzano, the premises of Lancia Veicoli Industriali, which was founded in 1912 in Turin, Italy. This business was acquired by Fiat in 1969, whereupon its name was changed to Fiat Veicoli Industriali before, in 1974, becoming Lancia Veicoli Speciali.
The following year, Lancia Veicoli Speciali was integrated in the newly founded Iveco, a merged group of industrial vehicle brands that had been acquired over time by Fiat. Founded in 1899 in Turin, Italy, by a group of engineers and investors including Giovanni Agnelli, the first vehicle built by Fiat (Fabbrica Italiana di Automobili Torino) was a car. The firm soon branched out, though, into trucks and buses. In 1903, Fiat produced its first commercial vehicle, and in 1929 formed a specialist industrial vehicle division, Fiat Veicoli Industriali.
In 1933, Fiat acquired OM, a truck, car and farm machinery maker. The company continued developing its passenger and goods vehicle businesses, and in 1966 made a further purchase, that of UNIC, a French manufacturer of trucks. Three years later the automobile, truck, bus and defence vehicle maker Lancia was acquired by Fiat.
In 1974, Fiat became the majority shareholder of Magirus Deutz, a German bus, truck and fire equipment manufacturer. The following year marked the birth of Iveco, when Fiat Veicoli Industriali brought together its own and acquired brands under a single entity, taking its name from the initials of the International Vehicles Corporation it created.
The Bolzano plant took on a new role in 1985, becoming the Iveco Defence Vehicles Division (DVD), including engineering and commercial departments dedicated to the development and production of highly-protected vehicles. In 2004 the Light Multirole Vehicle is launched, quickly becoming Europe’s vehicle of choice in its category.
Two years later, Iveco DVD acquired the SICCA plant in Vittorio Veneto, Italy, creating a highly specialised centre for the development of prototypes and vehicle protection. In 2007 the Iveco DVD business unit was retitled as Iveco Defence Vehicles (DV), and celebrated its 70th anniversary as one of the premier manufacturers of tactical and logistic trucks in Europe.
Along with Fiat’s other non-automotive interests, in 2011 Iveco Defence Vehicles was demerged from Fiat S.p.A, becoming part of the new Fiat Industrial, Fiat Group’s capital goods division. The following year, Iveco Defence Vehicles opened a plant in Sete Lagoas, Brazil, to produce the VBTP 6x6, which will see the company deliver over 2,000 vehicles across a 20 year contract.
In 2013, the business was transferred to CNH Industrial, following the merger of Fiat Industrial and CNH Global N.V. The new Medium Protected Vehicle range enters production and completes the spectrum of defence vehicles offered to military customers worldwide.
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