It’s been 70 years since SEAT was founded on 9 May 1950, the company that helped mobility in Spain and beyond.
Over the past seven decades, SEAT has undergone a transformation which enabled it to remain a benchmark throughout its history.
When originally created, the company’s name was Sociedad Española de Automóviles de Turismo, but was officially changed to SEAT in the 1990s.
When production began in 1953, (see picture) just 925 people worked on the line. Today, SEAT employs more than 15,000 people as well as generating more than 100,000 direct and indirect jobs within the supply chain.
To date, a total of more than 19 million SEAT vehicles have been built and sold, and more than 72,000 people have been employed by SEAT. The Ibiza (5.8 million sold) is the most popular SEAT of all time, followed by the Leon (2.3 million), 127 (1.2 million), Cordoba (1.03 million) and the Toledo (1.01 million).
Over the past 70 years the carmaker has launched a total of 75 models, including vehicles that have marked a turning point for the company. This started in 1953 with the SEAT 1400, the first car manufactured by the company, or with the legendary SEAT 600, which was unveiled in 1957 and soon became a symbol of freedom and mobility in Spain.
More recently, in 1984 the first SEAT Ibiza arrived followed by the SEAT Leon in 1999, both of which have been a sales success since its launch, with 2016 heralding the introduction of the brand’s first SUV (Ateca) and its first electric vehicle in 2019, the SEAT Mii electric.
On 13 November 1953 the first car rolled off the assembly line in Barcelona – the SEAT 1400, with 925 employees in the factory.
In 1957, SEAT launched the 600, designed to enable Spanish families to enjoy mobility and independence that no car in Spain had offered before. It cost 65,000 pasetas, the equivalent of £340 (€390) today.
SEAT’s production facility manufactured its one millionth vehicle in 1968.
In 1970, SEAT entered motorsport, competing on circuits and in rallies. Since then, motorsport has always been a key part of SEAT’s DNA and a programme which achieved a large trophy cabinet of wins and world titles for the Spanish manufacturer, including the BTCC (British Touring Car Championship) manufacturers’ title in 2006 and WTCC champions in 2008.
Today, the racing pedigree originating from SEAT Sport lives on through the CUPRA brand, which recently launched the Leon Competicion this year, adding to the CUPRA TCR and the world’s first 100% electric touring car, the CUPRA e-Racer. CUPRA also applies the technology and characteristics developed from its motorsport heritage to road cars, offering a sophisticated and performance-oriented driving experience on the roads.
Currently, the company has three production centres: Barcelona, El Prat de Llobregat and Martorell, where the Ibiza, the Arona and the Leon are currently manufactured.
In addition, the Ateca is built in the Czech Republic, the Tarraco in Germany, the Alhambra in Portugal and the Mii electric, SEAT’s first 100% electric vehicle, in Slovakia.
Today, the same number of cars are produced in three minutes as was built in a whole day in 1950.