In 1950, the Spanish car manufacturer SEAT was founded. However, the history of the brand began 31 years earlier, when the Italian concern "FIAT" opened its branch in Spain, the production facilities of which became the base after the Second World War for the firm "SEAT". The shareholders of the new company were the Spanish government, represented by the chairman of the Spanish government, Francisco Franco (later his share passed to King Juan Carlos), the country's largest banks and the Italian concern FIAT, which also became a technological partner of the new brand.
The plant of the SEAT company is located in the free economic zone of Barcelona, and the first car of the brand was built under the license of the FIAT brand, which provided the new partner with free access to its technologies. In 1953, the first model of the brand, built on the basis of FIAT 1400, was presented. Under the hood of the model there is a 1.4-liter power unit with a capacity of 44 horsepower. Due to the low cost of the car, as well as the almost complete absence of competition from other automakers, the production of the first model "SEAT" was 5 copies per day, and the demand was so high that the construction of the second plant of the company began urgently. And in 1955, a more powerful version with a 70 horsepower engine was introduced. By 1956, production had grown more than 16 times, reaching 82 cars daily.
In 1957, the production of the SEAT 600 model began, which had a compact body, as well as a whole range of power units, with a capacity of 19 to 39 horsepower. Due to the low cost and increased reliability of all components of the car, it was this model that played a primary role in the mass motorization of Spain, holding out on sale for a long 15 years. In 1960, the one hundred thousandth car of the Spanish brand was produced, and not all major automakers of that time could boast of such a result in the first 10 years of its existence.
In 1963, the second generation of the CEAT 1400 was presented, which was equipped with a 1.5 liter FIAT power unit with a capacity of 75 horsepower. This model also became a landmark, due to the fact that just 2 years after the start of its production, the deliveries of SEAT 1500 began to Colombia, marking a new stage in the development of the Spanish concern. The first export samples did not differ much from the standard models for the Spanish domestic market, however, after the opening of an official representative office in Colombia, in 1966, independent modifications of the CEAT 1500, developed by the Colombian engineers of the brand, were presented.
In the same year, the SEAT company released the 850 model, under the hood of the compact model is a four-cylinder power unit with a capacity of 47 horsepower. And in 1968, one of the most successful cars of the company in its short history was presented - the SEAT 124 model, built on the basis of FIAT 124 and VAZ 2101. Under the hood of the car was a carbureted 1.2-liter power unit with 64 horsepower. In addition, it was this model that became the basis for the start of the brand's sports program, in 1969 a version of the 124 Sport model was presented, and the Spanish racers organized the Barcelona regional circuit racing championship.
The success of 124 models after the first year of sales was confirmed by the numbers - 200 thousand copies were released in 11 months of sales. In 1970, two modifications of the model were presented at once - a coupe body and a power unit with a capacity of 114 horsepower. In addition, in the same year, the first CEAT diesel engines, developed in cooperation with Volkswagen, were presented. By the way, it was these developments that eventually quarreled the Spanish brand with the Italian company FIAT. Thanks to the production of economical diesel engines, the export of CEAT cars increased by 10 times by 1970 - up to 150 thousand copies a year.
In 1972, the SEAT Sport division was founded to develop sports cars for international racing. The result of the work was a prototype of a car for participation in the 1972 World Rally Championship. The 1970s were marked by a large-scale release of new models of the SEAT brand, and the production volumes brought the Spanish company to eighth place in the world. Two new factories for the production of components for FIAT and SEAT vehicles were launched.
However, in 1980, when the Spanish government proposed to the FIAT concern to increase its share in the SEAT auto concern, a firm refusal was received, and further cooperation was terminated. The reason for this was the conclusion of agreements between the SEAT company and the German Volkswagen concern, according to which the Germans and Italians will receive 25% of the SEAT shares each, which contradicted the plans of the FIAT company management. As a result, the share of "FIAT" in 7% of shares was bought by the concern "Volkswagen", through its subsidiary "Audi". And two years later, another block of shares in the amount of 51% of their total number fell under the control of the German auto giant.
In 1982, at the factories of the company "SEAT" was organized the production of current models "Volkswagen" and "Audi" for the domestic car market in Spain and for export to the United States of America. In 1984, in collaboration with Porsche engineers, SEAT engineers presented the SEAT Ibiza, based on another model from the Spanish automaker Ronda. Under the hood of the model there is a power unit from the Volkswagen Golf model with an output of 85 horsepower, and the body was designed by Porsche engineers. In 1985, two compact sedans SEAT Cordoba and Malaga were presented, also built on the basis of the SEAT Ronda. However, in addition to the body, the key difference was the presence of more powerful power units of 98 and 105 horsepower.
In 1987, the super-compact hatchback SEAT Marbella was presented - a direct competitor to the FIAT Panda car, popular in the Western European automotive market. Under the hood of the model was a 40 horsepower engine, which worked, together with a three-speed manual gearbox, by the Volkswagen concern, and the body design was developed by the ItalDesign studio, which worked closely with the German concern for many years.
In the wake of the financial crisis that gripped Europe, the production of cars at the factories of the Spanish concern "SEAT" is gradually decreasing, which leads the company's management to a standstill and forces them to look for new sales markets. In 1990, the company, for the first time in its history, ends the financial year with losses, and the influence of the Volkswagen concern is constantly growing - 8 out of 10 key positions in SEAT are occupied by managers and engineers from the parent company. And the new course of development is being developed by the managers of “Audi”, planning the further future of the company “SEAT”, closely connected with the production facilities of the Czech brand “Skoda”.
In 1993, CEAT again increased its presence in the Spanish and Portuguese car markets, officially becoming the largest car manufacturer in Spain with a daily production of 200 vehicles. In 1994, the total number of cars produced by the "SEAT" concern reached 10 million copies. In 1995, on the basis of Volkswagen Sharan, the Spanish company presented its first minivan SEAT Alhamra, which in the basic version received the ability to install seven seats and a diesel power unit from the Ibiza model.
In 1999, SEAT's first all-wheel drive model, the Leon, was introduced. The car was built on the Volkswagen A4 platform used in the creation of such models of the concern as SEAT Toledo, Audi A3 and Volkswagen Golf. The all-wheel drive version of the Leon model was based on the Golf 4motion system, and under the hood of the model is a six-cylinder 2.8-liter turbocharged power unit with a capacity of 201 horsepower. Later, on the basis of SEAT Leon, the first generation Skoda Octavia model was presented.
In the following years, the company "SEAT" took a course on the creation of family and low-cost cars, at the same time releasing their powerful sports versions. In addition, the company is attempting to return to motorsport. Thanks to the technological and organizational advice received from the Audi concern, the SEAT Sport team was again organized, as well as the models for participation in the world rally and touring championships were prepared.
In 2004, a new generation of the CEAT Altea model was presented, which received a large number of orders in the automotive markets of Germany and France. Under the hood of the model is a 1.4-liter turbocharged power unit with 123 horsepower. In addition, a special version of the SEAT Leon has been developed for the new Touring Car Championship. Specifically for this model, Volkswagen has developed a turbocharged diesel engine, which made it possible to cover the full distance of the race on a full tank, using 100 liters less fuel than the gasoline engines of the main competitors of CEAT in the WTCC championship - the German brand BMW. In 2008 and 2009, racers Ivan Müller and Gabriel Tarquini became champions, winning the constructors' championship as well. However, after the key riders left the team, the SEAT concern began to gradually reduce its presence in the races. By 2012, there was only support for an independent team using the modernized prototypes of the 2009 CEAT Leon Championship.
In 2004, a new line of cars from the company called Ibiza was also presented. The cars were oriented towards the needs of young people, and the production volume reached 900 thousand copies per year. And in 2008, the SEAT Ibiza version was presented in the back of a sports coupe. The company offered a model with two engine modifications, 150 and 180 horsepower. However, after the onset of the global financial crisis, sales of Spanish brand cars fell sharply, the company was mired in debt, and large investments from the parent company, Volkswagen, were insufficient. As a result, the Czech brand "Skoda" and the Spanish brand "SEAT" were merged into one division, which avoided serious damage to the financial condition of the German concern "Volkswagen" and prevented the bankruptcy of the Spanish brand.
In 2010, after successfully preventing all the consequences of the crisis, the Volkswagen concern introduced a new generation of unified platforms, on the basis of which all the current budget models of the Volkswagen, SEAT and Skoda brands began to be built. In the same year, the distressed Spanish brand was forced to transfer part of its production capacity to the production of Volkswagen Golf and Volkswagen Polo models for sale in Canada and the United States of America.
2011 is a significant year for the SEAT company, as it is associated with the introduction of new interesting models on the market. This is a new stage in the evolution of design and technology "SEAT".
At the Frankfurt Motor Show, SEAT unveils its new IBL Concept: a unique dynamic sedan with a stunning design that points the way to the next generation of SEAT vehicles. challenging driving conditions, and the new Exeo, which boasts new technologies and a wide range of developments for even greater driving pleasure in this outstanding vehicle.
The year concluded with the launch of a new urban mobility concept: the SEAT Mii. Mii combines the sporty design of "SEAT" with the latest technology for the urban cycle and 5 Euro NCAP stars. All this is harmoniously combined in a 3.56 meter long vehicle, ideal for modern urban space.
In 2012 the company starts a new chapter called "ENJOYNEERING". The revamped SEAT Ibiza is the latest incarnation of the legendary car, which was first unveiled at the 1984 Paris Motor Show.
At the 2012 Geneva Motor Show in March, SEAT unveiled the next phase of its product development: the SEAT Toledo Concept, which combines the proportions of a classic sedan with a sporty design.
In March 2013, at the Geneva Motor Show, the company showed the public the all-new SEAT Leon SC. Its lightweight, streamlined carcass is designed by designers to combine sharp edges with smooth lines for maximum agility and precision on the road.
At the end of 2013, an impressive member of the Leon family was born - the brilliant SEAT Leon ST.
The new SEAT Leon ST brings the sportiness and bold looks of the Leon range to the level of a station wagon. SEAT Leon ST, with its perfect balance of visual appeal and internal functionality, embodies the latest in TECHNOLOGY TO ENJOY
In 2014 at the Geneva Motor Show in September, the new SEAT models were shown: the Leon CUPRA and Mii by MANGO.
The Leon CUPRA is the most powerful mass-produced car today.
The SEAT Mii by MANGO marks the beginning of the collaboration between SEAT and the popular Spanish brand MANGO.
2014 is especially important for the SEAT Ibiza family as it is its 30th anniversary year. Since its premiere in 1984, the Ibiza has become a SEAT icon, combining youthful sportiness with affordability and the guarantee of unparalleled driving pleasure.
In 2015, the Company presented at the Geneva Motor Show a prototype of its first crossover, the 20V20. SEAT says the crossover body is a "sporty four-door coupe" with the elegance of an SUV and the versatility of a compact car.