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The Spanish car manufacturer Seat was founded in 1950 with the help of state loans, bank loans and proportionally by the Italian manufacturer Fiat. The name is an acronym for "Sociedad Española de Automóviles de Turismo", which can be translated to Society for passenger cars.
Under the Franco government, Spain was to become a car producer and should cover the country’s needs – before that, cars were only available for a small upper class.
In 1953, the first Seat, the Seat 1400 A left the factory in the Zona Franca, near Barcelona. Parts of the mid-class car were manufactured at Fiat in Italy but mounted in Spain. Fiat models were developed on the basis of the purchased licenses and the modular principle.
The Spanish state-owned company achieved a really great success with the Seat 600, presented in 1957. The small 600 was also named "Iberian VW beetle", which refers to the degree of its distribution and popularity in the country.
Even after the 1950s, mid-range and small cars were produced based on the licenses from Fiat - favorable in the production and thus also affordable for the consumers. The Spanish taxi cab of that time was the Seat 1500.
So there is close relationship not only between Seat and Fiat, with the Seat 124 the brand is also related to the Lada 2101. One of the highlights among the Italian-Spanish partnership is the Seat 850 Spider, a two-seater, which in its sporty appearance and with a mechanically controlled fabric cover caused a sensation.
Seat surprised the market in 1975 with a separate and own development: The two-door sports coupe of the lower middle class with its characteristic "black mouth", that is a black plastic front panel, was with its successor model the first Seat, the 1430 Sport Coupe in 1977 on the German market.
At the beginning of the 1980s Seat and Fiat separated - and argued, for example, about the origin of identical models such as the Seat Ronda and the Fiat Ritmo. As early as 1982, the Spanish company gave its shares into other hands - and concluded a production and economic agreement with VW.
Seat Germany was established as an independent import company for Germany and there began its strategic alignment with Central Europe. At the same time, Seat marketed the brands VW and Audi in Spain. Gradually Seat became almost completely VW’s property by 1990.
However, one of the most non-controversial independent developments happened at the time - the Seat Ibiza has remained a long time after its introduction in 1984 a best seller. Designed by the Italian industrial designer Giorgio Giugiaro, the model is still being constantly updated and requested.
With the change of partners or owners many Seat models are now based on those of VW, but also influenced by other subsidiary companies such as Skoda and Audi. The Seat Mii shows a relationship to the VW Up.
The Ibiza is now more based on the Golf, its predecessor model Seat Fura had still been built on the basis of the Fiat model. But the time of pure reproduction seems to be history. In 1991 the one millionth Ibiza and in 1995 the ten millionest Seat rolled off the line.
At the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona Seat was a sponsor. The compact Toledo, which since 2004 was developed into a compact van, became the official Olympic car. Already in the early 1970s, Seat entered motorsports and created a corresponding department.
For the first time, the company attracted attention with the third and fourth place at the Monte Carlo Rally in 1977. The Ibiza variant, Kit Car, which was not intended for the road, gained a victory in the two-liter class of the FIA Rally World Championship from 1996 to 1998.
Over the years, Seat could profit thanks to the successes in the rally sport, such as the three-city rally and the touring car championships. The cars of Seat also participate in the Leon Supercopa Championship.