technical center and design center: Martorell (near Barcelona)
||2016: 408,703 units
2015: 400,037 units
2014: 390,505 units
2013: 355,004 units
2012: 321,000 units
2011: 350,000 units
2010: 339,501 units
2009: 337,000 units
2008: 368,000 units
2007: 411,000 units
2006: 430,000 units
2005: 415,000 units
2004: 442,000 units
2003: 460,000 units
2016 production by models:
Leon: 163,228 units
Ibiza: 149,988 units
Ateca: 35,833 units
Alhambra: 31,214 units
Mii: 18,720 units
Altea / Toledo: 18,029 units
received the troublesome Spanish car maker from FIAT in the mid-80s. In
the FIAT-era, SEAT was using its cheap labour to produce low price cars
with poor build quality even worse than FIAT. Volkswagen spent many
years and money into SEAT to upgrade its build quality and image. After
struggling for more than a decade, SEAT has eventually began to shine.
SEAT wants to establish a young and exciting image like Alfa Romeo.
This is helped by the service of ex-Alfa design boss Walter de Silva
(now head of the whole Volkswagen group design) and the availability of
Volkswagen technology and quality standards.
The cars of SEAT are all built on Volkswagen group platforms, although in recent years it has more autonomy of design and engineering.
WWII, the Spannish government under dictator Francisco Franco promoted
cooperation with foreign enterprises in order to build its own
industry. This led to the birth of SEAT (Sociedad Espanola de
Automoviles de Tourismo) in 1950 as a joint venture between the
government and FIAT, with the latter holding minority shares. FIAT
provided its know-how and cars for SEAT to manufacture in Spain, such
as the SEAT 1400 (nee FIAT 1400), SEAT 600 (FIAT 600) and SEAT 127
(FIAT 127). These cars dominated the local market and began exported to
other European countries.
The relationship between SEAT and FIAT deteriorated in the late 1970s and led to their break-up in 1981. The Spannish used its own effort to develop its first car, Ibiza, albeit with Porsche-developed engines and design by Giugiaro. However, the company was still notorious for poor build quality and its prospect as an independent car maker was hardly promising.
1984 Ibiza Mk1 (left) and 1993 Ibiza Mk2 (right)
In 1986, it found Volkswagen group as its new partner, or more precisely, new owner. VW took 51% stakes in SEAT and then raised to full ownership 4 years later. The second generation Ibiza in 1993 was the first product developed with Volkswagen's involvement. Later on, all SEAT models were transferred to Volkswagen group platforms, such as Arosa (Lupo), Ibiza (Polo), Toledo / Leon (Golf) and Exeo (Audi A4). Volkswagen also strengthened it by building a modern plant in Martorell and a design center.