The most famous Spanish car brand in the world, SEAT is part of the Volkswagen Group since 1990. SEAT, which means Sociedad Espanola de Automoviles de Turismo, was founded in 1950 and was initially a state-owned company.
SEAT’s first plant, in the Zona Franca District of Barcelona, is inaugurated on June 5th, with an initial workforce of 925 employees. The first SEAT car, a 1400 model, is manufactured there on November 13th. Production output is of 5 cars per day.
The first partnership was with Italian company Fiat. Production on the SEAT 600 model starts in 1957. The 600 will kick-start a massive motoring era, and become a Spanish symbol of mobility and liberty. The SEAT 600 was based on the very popular Fiat 600.
A lot of Fiat models were made in Spain during the '60s. The 1500, the 850 and the 124 were all wearing the SEAT logo. The Fiat partnership starts to fade in the '80s and the SEAT Ibiza is launched in 1984. It is a collaboration between SEAT and the Italian designer Giugiaro, the German engineering company Karmann and the prestigious German sportscar manufacturer Porsche. The car is considered a revolution within the SEAT brand – and the most charismatic car in the company’s history.
In 1986 Volkswagen purchases 51% of SEAT’s shares in June and, by the end of the year, increases its ownership to 75%. Full ownership of the SEAT brand by the VW Group is achieved in 1990. Since then, Seat has been manufacturing cars on shared platforms with the German group.
The SEAT Toledo, the first SEAT model developed within the Volkswagen Group, is presented at the Barcelona Motor Show in 1991.
SEAT enters the world of motorsport with the Ibiza Kit Car in 1996 and later with the SEAT Cordoba WRC, which debuts in the top-class of the World Rally Championship.
In 2002, SEAT joins Audi and Lamborghini in the Audi Brand Group, under the umbrella of the newly organized Volkswagen Group. A range of boldly designed models is offered starting with the second generation Leon and the Altea.
Today, SEAT offers a more traditional range of models covering all the segments from the city car to the SUV with the first crossover in SEAT history: the Ateca.