name = SEAT, S.A. [ [http://www.seat.com/com/generator/su/com/SEAT/site/legal-note/main.html SEAT.com - legal note] ]
type = Subsidiary of
Instituto Nacional de Industria
location = flagicon|Spain
Martorell, Catalonia, Spain
Europe, Africa, Central America, South America, Middle East, Asia
industry = Automotive
products = Cars
services = design, manufacture and distribution of SEAT cars
num_employees = 14,500 (2006)
divisions = SEAT Sport
homepage = [http://www.seat.com SEAT.com]
intl = yes
SEAT, S.A. (English pronunciation: IPA| [ˈsɛːat] , "say-at"; Spanish pronunciation: IPA| [seˈat] ) is a Spanish automobile manufacturer founded in
1950by the Instituto Nacional de Industria(INI), with Fiatassistance, and now a wholly owned subsidiary of the German Volkswagen Group. Its headquarters are at Martorellnear Barcelona, Spain, and is legally inscribed in the official Mercantile Register of Barcelona, book 23662, folio 1, sheet B-56-855.
SEAT is an acronym for "Sociedad Española de Automóviles de Turismo", or in English "Spanish Passenger Car Company".
Initially, SEAT manufactured rebadged
Fiatmodels which differed very little visually from the products of the Italian parent. The SEAT Panda (later restyled as SEAT Marbella) for example was based on the Fiat Panda. The SEAT 600, based on Fiat 600, was the first car for many Spanish families, and became a symbol of the Spanish Miracle.
The first car under the new SEAT logo without Fiat involvement appeared in 1982, and was called the
SEAT Ronda. This was a restyled Fiat Ritmo, and sparked a lawsuit from Fiat against SEAT, as the former claimed the car was still too similar to the Ritmo. 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. This ended the dispute. 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.
After the withdrawal of Fiat in 1981, the
Volkswagen Groupsubsidiary Audi AG signed a cooperation agreement with SEAT, becoming the major shareholderin 1986, and 100% owner of the company in 1990. During the mid 2000s, the ownership of the SEAT company was realigned, with Audi AG transferring ownership of SEAT to the top-tier holding companyVolkswagen Group.
SEAT has its manufacturing facilities in
Martorell, an industrial town close to Barcelona. The plant was opened by King Juan Carlos of Spain in 1993, and replaced SEAT's original assembly plant by the coast in Barcelona's freeport zone. The development facilities are some of the newest in the Volkswagen Group.Fact|date=June 2008 For example, the development and design of the Audi Q7took place there.
Presence in different markets
The company styles its own models of cars in accordance with the development policies of the
Volkswagen Group. Some of its cars have been sold outside Europe, badged as Volkswagens, such as the SEAT Ibizahatchback, known in South Africaas the Volkswagen Polo Playa, the SEAT Incapanel van as the Volkswagen Caddy, or the SEAT Córdobaalso known as the Volkswagen Polo Classic.
Rumours of a SEAT model being sold as a Volkswagen in
Canadaand the United Statesto supplement the Volkswagen's brand lineup there have occasionally circulated, but have always been unsubstantiated, and ultimately proven to be false. SEAT markets 6 models in Mexico, and has dealer presence in 27 Mexican states. [ [http://www.seat-mexico.com.mx/nseat/cwe/dealers/index/ SEAT-Mexico - dealer search] ]
SEAT's presence in international markets (outside of Europe) has yet to be realised, with the failed plan to launch SEAT in Canada in 1994, and with the withdrawing of SEAT from the
Australian market after only selling its range from 1995-1999. SEAT is also positioned to launch in the United States sometime after 2008,Fact|date=June 2008 although this has yet to be verified as a certainty. SEAT currently continues to expand to international markets under the Volkswagen Group, particularly in the Middle Eastand Asia. They have already achieved some success in Thailandand Israel. After launching the brand in South Africain June 2006 & selling approximately 2600 vehicles, Volkswagen South Africa announced that it's pulling the Seat brand from the country by end 2008, citing that current and expected circumstances make the ongoing importation of a niche brand in the South African market non-viable. [http://www.seatsa.co.za/] [http://www.wheels24.co.za/Content/News/Industry_News/6/822e95af7f5240baa7f31658054af8fd/15-09-2008%2008-09/VW%20shock%20SEAT%20to%20quit%20SA]
EAT in motorsport
Since the Volkswagen Group takeover in 1990, SEAT has been increasing its presence in the motorsport world. This was mainly down to VW's plan on focusing the SEAT brand as 'sporty', to appeal to the younger generation of drivers.
SEAT's first serious attempt at a
World Rally Championship(WRC) title was burdened on the small SEAT Ibiza, a 1.6L normally aspirated front-wheel drivecar with its roots in the Volkswagen Polo. The Ibiza allowed the company to start building its rallying experience, and was officially engaged in some European national championships. The years went by and little success followed until a 2L 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 the 2L World Champion('96, '97, '98), proving its maker had accumulated enough experience, and budgets, to take a chance at the reign category, the World Rally Carclass of rallying cars.
SEATs three conquests of the 2L FIA title, and the sport's popularity in
Spain, probably convinced Volkswagen Groupmanagement to go further, and allocate sufficient budgets to the SEAT Sportdepartment so as to allow it a chance to reach its goal. This situation came to an end in September 2000, when the company's, German upper management revoked its decision, and budgets, forcing SEAT Sport to retire from the World Rally Championship. The absence of convincing results must have obviously helped the management's decision.
SEATs project to build a WRC-spec car was officially announced during the 1997 San Remo rally. It was in 1998 that the
SEAT CórdobaWRC was 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. It had a 4 cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, permanent four-wheel drive, and active differentials were involved in its transmission. However, the short wheelbaseand high-mounted engine (compared to its rivals) worked against the Córdoba, and results weren't impressive. Despite hiring ex-WRC champion Didier Auriol, and a new evolutionof the car, SEAT pulled out of international rallying at the end of 2000.
In 2003, SEAT announced a one-make championship for the new
SEAT LeónCupra R, the SEAT Cupra Challenge.
In 2004, SEAT with
Ray Mallock Ltd.(RML) entered the British Touring Car Championship, running two SEAT ToledoCupra 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 Hinesas SEAT expanded to three cars, now run by Northern South. 2006 saw the Toledo replaced by the new León, and Darren Turnerjoined the team with James Thompsonwhen 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.
Since 2005, SEAT has also competed in the
World Touring Car Championship, with its best season being 2007, where a failed water pumprobbed Yvan Mullerof certain victory at the final meeting in Macau. SEAT utilised Audi's pioneering diesel enginetechnology (from the Audi R10 TDILMP1) in touring cars, when they became the first team to run a TDI in the WTCC. SEAT's UK team followed suit in the 2008 BTCC. The team is also now to be sponsored by Holiday Innin the BTCC.
On the 11th September 2008 SEAT UK announced that it was to withdraw from all motor sport activity in the UK at the end of the season. The SEAT Cupra Championship and the SEAT BTCC campaign are to end at Brands Hatch on the 21st September. BTCC drivers Jason Plato and Darren Turner have been left without drives for 2009 however Plato is hopeful of continuing in Touring Cars whilst Turner may look to expand his sportscar commitments.
Lara Crofthas been used to advertise for SEAT, where she changes vehicles in the way she changed items. The cars were a yellow SEAT Córdoba Vario with matching Jet ski(to escape from a "Tyrannosaurus rex", a green SEAT Arosa(to escape armed bikers), a red SEAT Ibiza Mk 1 (to jump a destroyed bridge), and an aqua SEAT Alhambra(to pick up six hitch-hiking surfers).
Future production models
* Exeo - 2009 [SEAT Media Center - COMPETING IN THE B-SEGMENT [http://media.seat.com/en/view_object.html?obj=1200,2307,c,21946 SEAT’s new saloon will be called “EXEO”] Martorell, 20-06-2008]
* [http://www.seat.com SEAT.com] corporate website
* [http://www.seatsportuk.co.uk SEAT Sport UK]
* [http://www.seat-cars.co.za SEAT Cars Randburg - South Africa]
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