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Seat - Cars

What a difference a Volkswagen makes.

SEAT is one of the leading car makers in Spain. It was founded in the year 1950 as a subsidiary of Fiat, with an important share owned by the Spanish Government under Francisco Franco.

Initially, SEAT manufactured rebadged Fiat models which differed very little visually from the products of the Italian parent. The SEAT Panda (later restyled as 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 Anto˝anzas, 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 Group, through its parent company VAG, signed a cooperation agreement with SEAT, becoming the major shareholder in 1986, and owner of 100% of the company in 1990.

SEAT has manufacturing plants in Barcelona, in Martorell (a nearby industrial city) and in Pamplona. The Martorell plant is one of the newest in Europe. Each year more than 450,000 cars are manufactured in this plant.

SEAT has its own sales and distribution facilities in 70 countries. The number of employees is 13,000. Additionally, 1,250 people work in the research and development center in Martorell.

The company develops and designs its own models of cars in accordance with the policies of the Volkswagen Group. Some of its cars have been sold as Volkswagens, such as the Seat Ibiza hatchback, known in South Africa as the VW Polo Playa. For the purposes of model strategy, SEAT belongs to Audi, together with Lamborghini, all subsidiaries of the Volkswagen Group.

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