The Spanish Language Blog

When we talk about Spanish products, SEAT's cars are definitely among them. In the 1960s, you mainly saw only one type of car on the road, namely the Seat 600, which is why the Seat 600 symbolizes Spanish industrial development.

  • The SEAT brand stands for Sociedad Española de Automóviles de Turismo.
  • Seat names all of its models after Spanish towns. Examples include the Seat Ibiza, the Marbella and the León.
  • The owner of SEAT is Volkswagen Auto Group.

On May 9, 1950, the company ´Sociedad Española de Automóvil de Turismo´ was founded. At that time, dictator Franco was in power, who wanted to encourage motorization within Spain. However, Spain was unable to produce cars on its own, so outside help was needed. Through state-owned company INI, an agreement was made with Italian brand Fiat to manufacture some of their models. A key requirement, however, was that 90% of the production materials would be domestic.

To realize car production, a large factory was built in Zona Franca, just outside Barcelona. On November 13, 1953, the very first car was made there: the Seat 600 made partly from Italian parts. Since 1957, all car parts have come from Spain and the first truly Spanish car was produced. The Seat 600 became a wildly popular car among the Spanish population. Consequently, Seat produced a total of 800,000 cars of it over 16 years. Even today, these cars are still popular because of their nostalgic past.

After the death of dictator Franco, Spain turned into a democracy and sought to join the Western European countries. Seat came up for sale and Fiat seemed the most obvious candidate to take over the company. A negotiation between the two companies resulted in an agreement in 1976. However, Fiat was in dire financial straits at the time and the deal ultimately fell through. INI decided to take over Fiat's deal, so Seat remained a truly Spanish company.

Seat continued to expand over the years, producing its own models such as the Ibiza and the Marbella. Several models later followed, which, like the Ibiza and the Marbella, were all named after Spanish towns such as the Toledo, León and Córdoba.

In 1982, an agreement was made with Volkswagen to produce more Volkswagens in Spain. Over three years later, Volkwagen took over 51% of Seat's shares. This grew to 100% in the following years. Seat thus became part of the Volkswagen Auto Group. Over the years, this also became evident as models came out that were almost identical to the Volkswagen models. A good example of this is the similarities between the VW Sharan & the Seat Alhambra.

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