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SEAT is a Spanish automaker, a subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group, headquartered in Martorell. So far, SEAT is the largest car manufacturer to come out of Spain.
Cooperation with FIAT
SEAT’s history began with the establishment of the Sociedad Iberica de Automóviles de Tourismo (SIAT) in 1940 by the Instituto Nacional de Industria state holding company and a number of banks with the aim to start to mass produce own passenger cars adjusting to the requirements of the time.
However, when the war ended, they realized they were completely inexperienced in this sphere – setting up the automobile production – as well as not ready to finance the project (the country was economically devastated after the war).
Such a state of affairs made them search for a big investor. The company fixed upon the Italian FIAT because Spain and Italy found themselves in similar economic and political situations then. Consequently, their marketing outlets were of the same kind. For FIAT, it was a profitable deal, too. Italy, isolated after the WWII, accessed new marketing outlets and resumed the international cooperation in general. It was the birth of a new marque – SEAT (Sociedad Espanõla de Automóviles de Tourismo).
In 1953, the first SEAT auto was rolled out. It was the SEAT 1400, a slightly modified FIAT. But it was still too expensive for an average Spaniard’s pocketbook. With this in mind, the company launched the SEAT 600 in 1957. By the way, this model is another proof that SEAT cars of that time were rebadged FIATs (the SEAT 600 was identical to the FIAT 600 as was the SEAT Panda and the FIAT Panda). A simple, reliable, and affordable model caught the people’s fancy at once, promoting motorization of the country and Spain economic boom (the so-called Spanish miracle).
From then onward, the automaker constantly produces new models, trying to keep up with the times. Thus, the SEAT 800 and 1500 were turned out in 1963, the SEAT 850 Sport in 1967, the SEAT 124 a year later, etc.
Cooperation with Volkswagen
In 1980, FIAT broke up its 30-year cooperation with SEAT. Although SEAT grew much stronger by then, it needed a mightier partner. In 1982, the company found it in Volkswagen. The same year, the automakers launched a new model, the SEAT Ronda. Due to its evident similarity with the FIAT Ritmo, the administration of the Spanish company couldn’t avoid a lawsuit. In 1984, the first Ibiza, based on the Volkswagen Polo, was made.
Since 1986, Volkswagen has become more than a partner for SEAT – the German automaker purchased 75% of its shares. In 1990, SEAT became Volkswagen’s a wholly owned subsidiary. The first car by the company in a new status was the Toledo (1991); the modernized Ibiza and Cordoba were made in 1993; the Alhambra in 1996; the Ibiza WRC along with the Cordoba WRC in 1998. SEAT’s current line-up includes the Ibiza, Mii, León, Alhambra, Altea, Toledo, Exeo, and some others.
SEAT is proud to tightly collaborate with Volkswagen. On the company’s official website, it’s written “We are Spanish. And German. We are passionate perfectionists”. It doesn’t miss an opportunity to adopt the best from VW while preserving its own character.
At the company, they realize that a car cannot be perfect unless it’s built in eco-conscious way. Minimizing fuel consumption and gas emissions is a top-priority challenge for modern automakers, including SEAT under VW’s supervision.
VW has developed the BlueMotion technology in order to meet the requirements of the environmental safety. At the SEAT company, this initiative is known as EcoMotive. It includes introduction of turbocharged diesel direct injection engines, boosted petrol direct injection engines, and the Direct Shift Gearbox in new models. Also, to the EcoMotive innovations, different drive variants refer – EcoFuel (natural gas engines), MultiFuel (ethanol engines), BiFuel (liquid natural gas engines), electric drives, and hybrid systems.
Apart from building up fuel-efficient engines, cars are to be designed in a fuel-efficient way. A low ride height, more aerodynamic body, longer gearing, auto stop-start, low rolling resistance tires are implied here.
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