It may have been 4 decades since its official premiere, but the Uno is still absolutely new and is undoubtedly one of the most important models in Fiat history.
It was Wednesday January 19, 1983 when Fiat unveiled the replacement 127 in Cape Canaveral, USA. – space closely related to the conquest of space. Uno wasn’t just a super mini. It was the car that redefined many city cars, but also one of the most important models in FIAT history.
Uno changed the way FIAT cars – and not just FIATs – were designed and built until then, with the extensive use of robots in the production process, the inextricable link between the design department and the development engineering team, but also defining what today we call it functional design.
The company’s financial investment in the development of the model was huge at that time. With a development time of five years and a total budget of around 1 trillion liras, the Uno construction program was the largest investment made by FIAT in its history for a model.
With Uno, a new method of production is born with greater flexibility and integration of individual processes. One of the key elements in this industrial approach was Robogate, an advanced production system that he designedand Comau – one of the leading automation companies – which included a very precise welding process.
Robogate was of course not new, having already been implemented for the first time in 1978 at the Rivalta factory and Ritmo production, while it was then transferred to the Mirafiori and Cassino factories. FIAT Uno will benefit from the new system and its production will employ dozens of robots used in assembly, welding and painting processes, significantly improving standardization and build quality.
A significant portion of the total investment related to the Uno software has been used for factory automation. Every day, an impressive choreography was performed that was entirely controlled by computers, starring mechanical arms, elevators, and doors.
New processes and robots have also made their way into the futuristic Termoli 3 factory, which was built in 1985 to house the production of the now famous FIRE engine. The Uno was the first model to be equipped with FIRE engines that later equipped countless models and were in production for a full 35 years, exceeding 23 million units in production!
The name FIRE is an acronym for the words Full Integrated Robotized Engine, which describes the innovative production method, which was also based on the Robogate system. Compared to its predecessors, the FIRE engine was more compact and lighter at only 69 kg, simpler in its design philosophy having 95 fewer components, more modern, among other things it had a smaller camshaft head, was more reliable and easier to assemble. In short, a collection of timeless value.
Another development of FIAT Uno was the replacement of classic drawing boards with CAD systems. Computer Aided Design technology (computer aided design) allowed to achieve the highest accuracy and reduce tolerances, compared to traditional methods.
From the CAD drawing rooms to the factory, everything was a continuous process, controlled by a single system. This connection between machines and processes allowed maximum flexibility, but also the lowest environmental footprint possible at the time.
At the same time, the relationship between Centro Stile and the engineering team has also changed. The two departments are beginning to work more closely together and are now looking for solutions that will combine design with practicality, aesthetics and logic.
At the beginning of the 1980s, FIAT’s Centro Stile assumed a broader role in coordinating the related operations of all of the group’s brands. In an environment where new ideas are constantly being born, the dialogue between the factory and independent design bureaus, such as Giorgetto Giugiaro’s Italdesign (the collaboration that would lead to the design of Uno), Pininfarina’s Bertone and the Idea Institute, will be greatly enhanced.
With Uno, the concept of functional design was born. In contrast to the trend of flat hoods and sloping windshields that prevailed in those years in Europe, the Italian supermini proposed a new design line approaching the logic of a single volume, in which the hood was joined by a smoother transition with the windshield. The gutters protruding above the doors were also removed, a first in the class, while thanks to factory robotics, the roof vents allowed for larger doors for easier access to the cabin.
FIAT Uno was a success from the very first moment. It was loved by the public, but also by the experts, who awarded it the title of Car of the Year 1984. The main advantages it offered were the spacious cabin that could accommodate up to 5 people, the large luggage compartment that was easy to access, but also the instrument panel Innovative and convenient, almost all functions can be controlled through the two “control centers” on either side of the dashboard.
The Uno was an original model copied in many respects by many competitors that paved the way for the introduction of new products such as the Uno 1.3 Turbo i.e. with electronic injection that changed the game for affordable and sportier compact models. It remained in production until 1995 in Europe, receiving a facelift in 1989 and giving way to the Punto, with a total production of over 8.8 million units.
In the video below, Roberto Giolito, Head of Heritage and Designer at Stellantis, explains the advantages of the FIAT Uno. In the following video:
“Avid problem solver. Extreme social media junkie. Beer buff. Coffee guru. Internet geek. Travel ninja.”
Xbox is preparing for a big announcement in its show, or at least that’s what the internet thinks!
A new moon of Earth has been discovered (video)
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart comes to PC (Video)