Сеат логотип и саксофон

This article is about the Spanish automotive company. For other uses, see Seat (disambiguation).

1982-1990 (secondary), 1990–1999 (primary)

The total production per year of SEAT and Cupra cars manufactured in SEAT/Cupra and other Volkswagen group plants is shown below. not comprising cars of other Volkswagen group brands, produced in SEAT-owned facilities:

Several tuning companies have produced modified or high-performance versions of various SEAT models,
some significant examples among those being Abt Sportsline, Je Design, MTM, Abarth, Emelba, Podadera Design, etc.

Today as a Volkswagen Group subsidiary, SEAT’s leading people are appointed after approval from the group’s supervisory board.

Volkswagen group’s distribution centre in Germany

SEAT currently does not use a slogan. Here are most of the slogans used by SEAT before:

Electric and hybrid technology development

‘SEAT al Sol’ project

‘Cenit verde’ project

SEAT Autometro project

SEAT has been a sponsor in major sports, music and cultural events, such as:

Under Volkswagen Group’s ownership, numerous SEAT models have been rebadged under other brands, either inside the Volkswagen Group’s portfolio or out of it.

In particular, some examples concerning the rebadges deriving from SEAT models and being carried out under other Volkswagen Group’s brands, are the SEAT Ibiza Mk2 which has been rebadged under the VW brand as the VW Polo Playa, the SEAT Córdoba Mk1 rebadged as the VW Polo Classic – FAW-VW City-Golf – VW Derby, the SEAT Arosa as the VW Lupo, and the SEAT Inca as the VW Caddy.

Further rebadges have come under non-Volkswagen Group brand ranges. Some notable examples are the SEAT Ibiza Mk1, which has been rebadged as the Nanjing Yuejin Eagle NJ6400-Unique NJ6400-Soyat NJ7150-Soyat Unique NJ1020, and the SEAT Toledo Mk1 as the Chery A11-Fulwin-Fengyun-Windcloud – Chery A15-A168-Amulet-Cowin-Qiyun-Flagcloud – Vortex Corda.

On the other hand, several SEAT models have derived as rebadges coming from other Volkswagen Group’s brands such as the SEAT Alhambra Mk1 and Mk2 respectively from the VW Sharan Mk1 and Mk2 (the first generation resulting after a joint venture of the Volkswagen Group together with Ford) and the SEAT Exeo from the Audi A4 B7.

Over the years the SEAT marque has been honoured with several awards, such as

SEAT’s industrial complex in Martorell

SEAT’s Training Centre in Barcelona’s Zona Franca

SEAT’s factory in Barcelona’s Zona Franca started its activities in 1953 and was the production facility where the first SEAT models such as the SEAT 1400 and the 600 were built. In 1993, the car production began to get transferred to the new Martorell plant, and since then, the Barcelona factory has been producing parts such as doors, roofs, fenders and chassis.

This plant is an industry benchmark, as it features elements such as the virtual simulation of the PXL press, 3D printing in the maintenance workshop, the automatic shifting between sealing tips of the robots in the body shop, and the automation of the logistics flow through automated guided vehicles.

Other manufacturing plants

SEAT’s Pavilion at Autostadt, Wolfsburg

Other company facilities

SEAT’s Barcelona Zona Franca site and laboratories

Partnership with Fiat

SEAT 1400, the first model produced by SEAT in 1953

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Until the time SEAT had the technical maturity and expertise to present its first self-developed model, the SEAT 1200 Sport in 1975, in its beginnings, the company had to manufacture either rebadged or restyled models borrowed from the range of its Italian partner Fiat Automobiles or even redeveloped them according to the needs of its range. However, the first example of a SEAT-exclusive derivative would arrive in September 1963 with the launch of the SEAT 800, a car developed in-house by SEAT with no equivalent model in Fiat’s range based on the SEAT 600 as a stretched version with four doors.

In 1977, SEAT’s leasing company Liseat was founded. In 1979, the Gearbox del Prat facility was set up as a specialised plant for producing gearboxes, gear mechanisms, and differentials in El Prat del Llobregat near Barcelona.

Dispute with Fiat

The end of the cooperation with the Italian firm was marked by a change in SEAT’s logo in 1982, and the first car under the new SEAT logo without Fiat’s involvement appeared in the same year, the SEAT Ronda, styled by Rayton Fissore in collaboration with the technical centre in Martorell. The launch of this model sparked a lawsuit from Fiat against SEAT, as the former claimed the car was too similar to a car in Fiat’s range, the Ritmo. In defence of SEAT, the then-president of SEAT, Juan Miguel Antoñanzas, showed a Ronda to the press with all the parts different from the Fiat Ritmo painted in bright yellow to highlight the differences. The case was eventually taken to the Arbitration Chamber of Paris, which in 1983 declared that differences between both cars were important enough not to consider the Ronda as a rebadged Ritmo, ending the dispute in favour of SEAT. Rumour at the time had it that Fiat was angry because the Ronda restyling was, in fact, too close to their own planned restyling for the Fiat Ritmo, which they had to scrap.

Volkswagen Group subsidiary

Former logo from 2012 to 2017

Former logo from 1998 to 2012

SEAT launched its new Ibiza, a Giugiaro-styled hatchback, which made use of System Porsche engines and also featured underpinnings from the Fiat Ritmo/Strada, in 1984. It also formed the basis of the Málaga, a four-door family saloon. SEAT began expanding into markets beyond Spain’s borders, including the United Kingdom, where it began selling cars in the autumn of 1985.

The SEAT Toledo Mk1, launched in 1991, was the first model fully developed under Volkswagen Group’s ownership.

The first time a SEAT model was manufactured out of Spain was in 1996, with the production of the SEAT Alhambra Mk1 in the Palmela AutoEuropa plant in Portugal. Also, in January 1997, a non-Spanish descendant, the Belgian Pierre-Alain de Smedt, was appointed SEAT’s chairman for the first time. The SEAT Arosa, a three-door city hatchback, was launched in 1997, effectively replacing the Marbella, SEAT’s version of the Fiat Panda, which had been in production since the early 1980s.

On April 7, 1998, the Zona Franca plant marked the end of the production lifecycle of the Marbella model, signalling a historical moment for SEAT with the end of vehicle production in SEAT’s oldest factory, which opened in 1953; ever since the Zona Franca plant has produced components and parts to be assembled in other locations. It also signalled the demise of SEAT’s last Fiat-based model.

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In March 1999, at the Geneva Motor Show, SEAT presented a modern, stylised logo, more rounded than the last one and using the silver colour on a red background, instead of the previous blue, symbolising respectively the rational and the emotional. This came shortly after the launch of the second-generation Toledo which used it as a badge and shortly before the launch of the Toledo-based Leon hatchback.

The “auto emoción” slogan was presented in September 2000, reflecting the brand’s new youthful and sporty corporate identity, while SEAT Sport, apart from its motorsport activities, would undertake the responsibility of developing SEAT’s high-performance vehicles.

On July 1, 2000, Dr. Bernd Peter Pischetsrieder, the former CEO of BMW, was appointed to head SEAT. In the spring of 2002, as Pischetsrieder was commissioned to chair the entire Volkswagen Group, he gave way to his German compatriot Andreas Schleef on March 7, 2002.

SEAT’s first serious attempt at a World Rally Championship (WRC) was in the 1977 season when SEAT took part with its SEAT 1430/124D Especial 1800 race car, and in its debut rallying event at the Montecarlo Rally, the SEAT team finished in the third and fourth places with the official 1430-1800 cars being driven by Antonio Zanini and Salvador Cañellas. In recent years, the consignment was placed on the small SEAT Ibiza, a 1.6-L, normally aspirated, front-wheel drive car with its roots in the Volkswagen Polo. The Ibiza allowed the company to evolve its rallying experience further and was officially engaged in some European national championships. The years went by until a 2-L version of the Ibiza was homologated as a kit car, and extra wide tracks, larger wheels, brakes, etc., were fitted to it as the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) kit-car regulations allow. With these attributes, the car succeeded three times as the 2-L World Champion (1996, 1997, 1998), proving its maker had accumulated enough experience, and budget, to take a chance at the reign category, the World Rally Car class of rallying cars.

SEAT’s three conquests of the FIA 2L WRC title, and the sport’s popularity in Spain, probably convinced Volkswagen Group management to go further and allow the SEAT Sport department a chance to reach its goal in the top-class WRC category. This situation ended in September 2000, when the company’s German upper management revoked its decision forcing SEAT Sport to retire from the World Rally Championship.

SEAT’s project to build a WRC-spec car was officially announced during the 1997 San Remo rally. It was in 1998 that the first evolution of the SEAT Córdoba WRC car was presented at the Porto Motor Show and then first enrolled by the company to compete at the highest level of WRC racing. The Córdoba was based on the family saloon of the same name but was, naturally, a WRC class car equipped with an inline-four turbocharged petrol engine, permanent four-wheel drive, and active differentials involved in its transmission. The Córdoba WRC made its debut at the 1998 Rally of Finland, while a further race car development was incarnated on the SEAT Córdoba WRC E2 which was presented at the Barcelona Motor Show in 1999. However, the short wheelbase and high-mounted engine (compared to its rivals) worked against the Córdoba and results were not competitive. Despite hiring ex-WRC champion Didier Auriol, and a new evolution of the car, the SEAT Córdoba WRC E3, SEAT pulled out of international rallying at the end of 2000.

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In 2002, SEAT announced a one-make championship for the new SEAT León Cupra R, the SEAT León Supercopa.

In 2004, SEAT with Ray Mallock Ltd. (RML) entered the British Touring Car Championship, running two SEAT Toledo Cupra for former-BTCC Champion Jason Plato, and 2003 León UK Champion, Rob Huff. In 2005, Huff left to join Chevrolet (run by RML in the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC)), and he was replaced by 2004 Leon Champion James Pickford, and Luke Hines as SEAT expanded to three cars, now run by Northern South. 2006 saw the Toledo replaced by the new León, and Darren Turner joined the team with James Thompson when his WTCC commitments allowed. 2007 was SEAT’s best year in BTCC, as Plato was locked in a season-long battle with Fabrizio Giovanardi, which came down to the final race of the season, but just missed out on the title.

In 2007, SEAT – with the León Mk2 TDI at the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben in Germany – became the first manufacturer to win a round of the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) series in a diesel car, only a month after announcing it will enter the FIA World Touring Car Championship with the León TDI. SEAT’s success with the León TDI continued and resulted in winning consecutively the 2008 World Touring Car Championship and 2009 World Touring Car Championship both titles (for drivers as well as for manufacturers’).

In September 2008, SEAT UK announced that it would withdraw from all motor sport activity in the UK at the end of the season. The SEAT Cupra Championship and the SEAT BTCC campaign ended at Brands Hatch on 21 September. BTCC drivers Jason Plato and Darren Turner have been left without drives for 2009. But Plato will drive for Silverline Chevrolet.

Grand tourer cars

In 2003, the SEAT Sport division presented at the Barcelona Motor Show first as a concept car and later the final version of the SEAT Cupra GT race car, which was produced in limited series on customer demand addressed to expertised individuals and racing teams willing to take part in race events.

Presence in different markets

SEAT 600, the first model exported by SEAT in 1965 to Colombia.

In Europe, the brand has been launched in almost 40 countries across the continent. SEAT today also sells its cars in 11 countries in Asia, mostly in the Middle East and the Arabian peninsula, in 16 countries in the Americas, including North America, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America, and finally Africa, mainly in North Africa. Some of its cars have been sold outside Europe, branded as Volkswagens, such as the SEAT Ibiza hatchback, known in South Africa as the Volkswagen Polo Playa, the SEAT Inca panel van as the Volkswagen Caddy, or the SEAT Córdoba, also known as the Volkswagen Polo Classic.

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