SEAT is the only company that designs, develops, manufactures and markets cars in Spain. A member of the Volkswagen Group, the multinational has its headquarters in Martorell (Barcelona).
Spanish-made, SEAT (Sociedad Española de Automóviles de Turismo) SA sells nearly half a million passenger cars per year. The company's brand names include Arosa, Cordoba, Leon, and Toledo. SEAT exports about 60% of its production, and although Europe accounts for most of its sales, the company operates in more than 70 countries through a network of nearly 3,600 dealers. Additionally, the company produces the Alhambra in Portugal, the Mii in Slovakia and the Toledo in the Czech Republic.
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SEAT was founded in 1950 by Spain's Instituto Nacional de Industria (INI) in cooperation with Italy's Fiat S.p.A.
SEAT is a Spanish motor company and member of the Volkswagen Group. It employs more than 14,000 people worldwide and offers a broad range of cars: Mii, Ibiza, Ibiza SC, Ibiza ST, Toledo, Leon, Leon SC, Altea, Altea XL, and Alhambra. Each combines the best German engineering with a distinct Spanish design theme, imbuing every one with a unique character.
The firm began its UK operations in September 1985, registering 24 cars in its first month, and 405 for the year. That number soon grew to more than 10,000 by 1988. A decade later it was 18,500-plus, and by the year 2000 SEAT was selling upwards of 20,000 cars in the UK. In 2013, SEAT is on course to break the 40,000 barrier for the first time in its history.
SEAT UK enjoyed a record-breaking year for sales in 2012 – its best since the brand was introduced in the country. In total, 38,798 cars reached new owners, representing a 1.9% market share – both figures that eclipse those of 2011, itself a record year for the company. In fact, since 2008 SEAT has defied the economic climate by registering year-on-year sales volume and market share increases. SEAT is a company on the rise.
The word SEAT is an acronym of the original company name: Sociedad Española de Automóviles de Turismo, and is therefore written in block capitals. SEAT was founded on 9 May 1950 with production of its first vehicle, the 1400, beginning in 1953. The 600 model, launched in 1957, is the car credited with putting Spain on wheels. So successful was it that sales hit one million by 1968. Volkswagen bought 51% of the company's shares in 1986, taking a 99.9% share in 1990.
SEAT's production is concentrated at the ultra-modern Martorell plant, near Barcelona, which in February 2013 celebrated its 20th anniversary. The company also has a major research and development facility – the Martorell Technical Centre – in which around 1,250 highly qualified staff work. And, in 2007, SEAT opened both a new centralised Design Centre and cutting-edge Prototype Development Centre at Martorell, bringing its entire production process together in one city.
In 2015, SEAT achieved worldwide sales of 400,000 units, the highest figure since 2007.
The multinational has a Technical Centre, which operates as a knowledge hub that brings together 1,000 engineers who are the driving force behind innovation for Spain’s largest industrial investor in R&D. In line with its declared commitment to environmental protection, SEAT undertakes and bases its activity on sustainability, namely the reduction of CO2 emissions and energy efficiency.
SEAT has a proud history of international motorsport success, most recently claiming back-to-back driver and manufacturer titles in the 2008 and 2009 FIA World Touring Car Championships. SEAT Sport secured these prestigious successes via its mould-breaking Leon 2.0 TDI – the first diesel car to win races in both the BTCC and WTCC.
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