SEAT is the only company in its sector with the full-range capacity to design, develop, manufacture and market cars in Spain. A member of the Volkswagen Group, the multinational has its headquarters in Martorell (Barcelona), exporting more than 80% of its vehicles, and is present in more than 75 countries. In 2013 SEAT achieved a business volume of 6,473 million euros, the highest figure in its history, with worldwide sales of 355,000 units.
SEAT Group employs 13,500 professionals at its three production centres – Barcelona, El Prat de Llobregat and Martorell, where it manufactures the highly successful Ibiza and Leon, amongst other models. Additionally, the company produces the Alhambra in Palmela (Portugal), the Mii in Bratislava (Slovakia) and the Toledo in Mladá Boleslav (Czech Republic).
The Spanish multinational also has a Technical Center, a ‘knowledge hub’, bringing together more than 900 engineers whose goal is to be the driving force behind innovation for the number one industrial investor in R&D in Spain. In line with its declared commitment to environmental protection, SEAT undertakes and bases its core activity on sustainability, namely reduction of CO2 emissions, energy efficiency, as well as recycling and re-use of resources.
In 2007, SEAT opened both a new centralised Design Centre and cutting edge Prototype Development Centre at Martorell - bringing its entire production process together in one city. In February 2013, the Martorell facility celebrated its 20th anniversary.
SEAT offers a wide range of cars comprising the Mii, Ibiza, Ibiza SC, Ibiza ST, Leon, Leon SC, Leon ST, Altea, Altea XL and Alhambra. Each matches strong design, sporty character, exceptional build quality and great value.
It's that combination of qualities that is enticing a burgeoning number of drivers into SEAT cars. It’s a company on the rise - at home and abroad. In 2014, SEAT UK enjoyed company record sales and market share for the sixth consecutive year, selling 53,512 cars, up 18% on 2013. That equated to a 2.16% UK market share. It also smashed its fleet and retail UK records. The former rose 11.2% to 23,611, aided significantly by the Leon range (up 50.8%), while retail grew 24.2% to 29,901. Leon also became the best-selling SEAT model for the first time, largely on the back of the first full year of sales for the SC, ST and CUPRA derivatives. Internationally, SEAT found homes for 390,500 cars, again, with Leon driving the carmaker forward, its Alhambra too posted double-digit growth, up 15.6% to 23,100 sales.
The firm began its UK operations in September 1985, registering 24 cars in its first month, and a whopping 405 for the year. That number soon grew to more than 10,000 by 1988. A decade later it was 18,500-plus, and by the year 2000 SEAT was selling upwards of 20,000 cars in the UK.
The word SEAT is an acronym of the original company name: Sociedad Espanola de Automoviles de Turismo, and should always be written in block capitals. SEAT was founded on 9 May 1950 with production of its first vehicle, the 1400, beginning in 1953. The 600 model, launched in 1957, is the car credited with putting Spain on wheels. So successful was it that sales hit one million by 1968. Volkswagen bought 51% of the company's shares in 1986, taking a 99.9% share in 1990.
SEAT has a proud history of international motorsport success, most recently claiming back-to-back driver and manufacturer titles in the 2008 and 2009 FIA World Touring Car Championship. SEAT Sport secured these prestigious successes via its mould-breaking Leon 2.0 TDI - the first diesel car to win races in both the BTCC and WTCC.