SEAT - 50 Years On Wheels

It’s 50 years since the first SEAT car rolled off the production line in Spain. The first car, a SEAT 1400, was produced on 13 November 1953 at the Zona Franca Plant in Barcelona, three years after the company was set up on 9 May 1950. The first SEAT 1400, a four-door saloon with a 44 bhp engine delivering a top speed 75 mph (120 km/h), was a real cause for celebration at the time. It was spacious, comfortable and innovative in its day and the car that put Spain on wheels. When production of the SEAT 1400 stopped in 1964, over 98,000 units had been produced.

From five to 2000 cars daily

Back in 1953, SEAT employed 900 workers who produced five cars a day. How times have changed. Today SEAT cars are designed, researched and produced in a modern plant at Martorell, just outside Barcelona, which was opened 40 years later in 1993. The workforce now totals 14,300 and the plant produces more than 2000 cars a day. Since 1953 SEAT has produced more than 14 million cars which are now sold all over the world. Over a quarter of a million of those cars have found homes in the UK since imports began in 1985*.

Fifty years on, the SEAT brand continues to evolve. Today it forms part of the Audi Brand Group of companies (along with Audi and Lamborghini) and is renowned for its attractive designs, sporty driving characteristics and value – summed up by the brand claim "SEAT auto emoción". This claim is easily recognised in SEAT’s best-known and most widely-sold model, the Ibiza, which has sold more than 3,000,000 units since its introduction in 1984.

A new phase in the brand’s evolution begins next year when the Altea MSV, the first of a whole new generation of SEAT products, is launched in the spring.

Published 21 November 2003 Melanie Carter

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