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Manufacturer Info

May 09, 1950
Price Range
Find a Retailer
£9 BILLION (est)
Ranking (cars sold)
Cars registered
7138 (Sept)
Cars Sold YTD
Market Share YTD

SEAT is a Spanish car maker that was founded in 1950 by the  Instituto Nacional de Industria, and has been owned by the Volkswagen Group since 1986.

SEAT is a Spanish car maker that was founded in 1950 by the  Instituto Nacional de Industria, and has been owned by the Volkswagen Group since 1986.

The Instituto Nacional de Industria was a Spanish state owned Industrial and fiancial holding company.

The purpose of this company was to produce cars for the Spanish people that were designed and built with no foreign intervention. This was a little difficult without some foreign technical input, so an agreement with FIAT was agreed in return for a 7% stake. This allowed the brand to ensure that the vehicles would be produced entirely by the Spaniards and that no no takeover could be made.

By 1953 the first car was produced, the SEAT 1400, although still influenced and modelled on the FIAT  1400, it was their first car and actually a deemed as a luxurious car for Spain. It wasn't until 1963 when a fully SEAT derrived car came to the market. The SEAT 800 arrived and was more affordable by the Spanish people.

By 1967 the successful company wanted to expand and start exporting it's cars. As this was not allowed under the original FIAT terms, a new agreement commenced, whereby  FIAT increased it's holdings to 36% and the Government holding company would reduce it's stake from 51% to 32% (with the remaining 32% split between the 6 banks that helped fund them). This left FIAT being deemed as in control of the company.

The Brand continued to grow, it introduced the Lancia Beta in 1976 and by 1979 had opened it's own Leasing Company.

By 1982, the relationship with FIAT would come to end over financial support and SEAT would change their logo to recognise this change. This was featured on the first SEAT Ronda and did not go down with FIAT too well. They claimed the Ronda was too similar to their their Ritmo and subsequently filed a lawsuit, to which, they did not win.

SEAT went on to search for a new partner and considered Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Volkswagen. and in the same year agreed to license the Passat and Polo with Volkswagen.

By 1990 VW now owned 99.99% of SEAT and new models would add to their popular Ibiza. The Leon came to the market in 1999 with the Leon Cupra, aswell as the "rebadging" of the the Ibiza Mk2 to the Polo Playa, the SEAT Arosa as the VW Lupo. The Alhambra from the VW Sharan and the Seat Exeo form form the B7 Audi A4.

Today SEAT is widely known over Europe and is in preperations to electrify it's range. In 2018 SEAT created the CUPRA brand as its independent high-performance branch and officially SEAT Sport was replaced by CUPRA Racing.

Did you know:

  1. SEAT is an acronym for Sociedad Espanola de Automoviles Turismo which translates to "Spanish Society of Tourism cars".
  2. It has now completed the final phase of the Seat al Sol project which has placed 53,000 solar panels on the roof of Martorell. This installation is expected to produce more than 13 million kwh of electricity annually, aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions by over 6,200 tonnes of CO2 per year.
  3. The Ateca was SEAT’s first SUV and beat the BMW X1, Kia Sportage and Range Rover Evoque in its first attempt to win the best Mid-Size SUV at the 2017 Fleet Management Awards.
  4. The Ibiza is SEAT’s most successful creation and has sold 5.4 million cars over its four generations. The original Ibiza was designed by the Italian automotive design legend, Giorgetto Giugiaro. Giorgetto Giugiaro designed the MK 1 VW Golf, Lotus Esprit, DeLorean DMC-12 and many other great looking cars.


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