Surely it does not have the tradition of other major car brands, with as much tradition and connection to history as the case of some that have been seen along these lines on previous occasions, but Seat has a story behind it that deserves to be known. Not surprisingly, it is the greatest Spanish exponent in the automotive industry and, therefore, from a country with a long tradition and fondness for this professional activity.
However, over time it has become international and the people who manage the firm are not traditional, but have given it a sophisticated touch under the umbrella of the Volkswagen group. That being said, at AutoUsaPremium we are going to tell you 10 things you didn’t know about the Martorell guys and that will surely surprise you.
From Martorell to the world: 10 surprising curiosities and facts about Seat
Once we have carried out the pertinent introduction of this new post, it is time to put our feet up once and for all and tell you all those curiosities, anecdotes and others that have probably gone unnoticed when you have heard about Seat.
1. Some initials and an acronym, but no translation
More than one might think that the name Seat is due to the translation of the word “seat” in English, a source of inspiration that other manufacturers turned to in their beginnings, but nothing to do with reality. And it is that the word refers to the acronym Spanish Tourism Society.
It came to light in 1950, curiously the same year that the Formula 1 World Cup was created, thanks to the initiative of Francisco Franco’s government to motorize the country, so here there are similarities with others, such as his soul brother Volkswagen .
Its link with Catalonia comes precisely from the construction of the first factory, located in the Barcelona Free Zone, which overlooked the port of the city of Barcelona and offered tax advantages, as well as in terms of communication. In this way, it was very easy to receive parts and raw materials by seat.
2. Close relationship with Fiat
Although at present they do not bear any kinship or similarity or alliance, at the beginning of its journey Seat was closely linked to Fiat. And it is that from its foundation until 1984, it had collaborated with the Italian house when carrying out its cars.
In fact, the first car made by Seat was the Fiat/Seat 1400since it provided them with the technology, so it was already made from Italy and the factory workers had to assemble it.
Sarcastically and due to this fact, there were those who translated the acronym Seat for You Will Always Be Tightening Screws. In any case, it was a saloon designed to carry authorities, ministers, the sick and travelers (when it functioned as a taxi). For all the comments, we had to wait a bit to see the first vehicle out of Martorell seeing other models licensed by Fiat, such as the Seat 850
3. The Seat Ibiza, a before and after
In 1984, the Seat Ibiza appeared in our lives, the first car fully designed and manufactured by the Spanish house, without Fiat contributing any element. For this to be possible, in 1975 the construction of the Martorell Technical Center had been completedwhich had as its raison d’être the impulse of its own development and research.
Resorting to the Inducar body to carry out the Seat Sport 1200 Bocanegra was not amusing to Fiat either, which sent its subsidiary to make the Seat 128 3p with the same engines and which had as its accompanying slogan “Coupé, Berlina, Break, three times Seat”.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was the redesign of the Fiat Rimo to sell it as the Seat Ronda, which reached the European courts for alleged plagiarism of the Spanish one, but was not seen that way by those in charge of delivering justice in the European Court of Competition. .
4. The Seat 600, a symbol of progress
Between the end of the 50’s and the beginning of the 60’s, Franco’s Spain left aside the economic model of autarchy to gradually open up to the outside world. The Seat 600 had a lot to do with this diversification, which achieved great popularity among Spanish citizens since it went on sale in 1957.
The “Seíta”, as many called him, was one of the main actors in the real motorization of the country and the expansion of Seat towards new horizons: in 1965 the brand was exported to Colombia, reaching a million units produced in 1968. It was valued at around 65,000 pesetas at that time (which today would be almost 400 euros) and generated a great emotional bond with several generations of drivers.
5. The millionth car went to the apartment of an employee
To celebrate the achievement of one million units manufactured, Seat decided to raffle that vehicle, the 124, among its workers. The winner was a young boy who came to work in the afternoon. However, he did not have his driver’s license in his possession nor was he in a position to obtain it since I needed to keep saving. As if that were not enough, she had just gotten married, although she was still living with her parents.
Faced with this situation, the company decided to invest the amount of money corresponding to the price at which that Seat 124 was appraised at the entrance to this boy’s new home. In case anyone is interested in going to see it one day, they should know that it is kept in the collection of historic cars of the Spanish brand.
6. Volkswagen takes command
After the disagreements with Fiat and its disassociation, Volkswagen acquired Seat. The Italians were somewhat overwhelmed by the trade union mobilizations that had taken place throughout the 1970s, which also coincided with the acquisition of the Landaben (Pamplona) facilities. The sum of circumstances pushed the Italian brand to sell its shares to the National Institute of Industry (INI).
Luckily for those from Martorell, it didn’t take long for the current leader of their conglomerate to take an interest in them in the 1980s. Not surprisingly, the labor offered by Seat as a Spanish company was less expensive than the German labor they were used to managing. Finally, in June 1986, Volkswagen took over 51 percent of Seat and, four years later, completed its acquisition.
The operation also brings with it a name change, going from the Spanish Tourism Automobile Society SA to Seat SA Back then, “German technology” was beginning to be boasted of in advertisements. Currently, their cars share platforms, mechanics and software.
7. The origin of Cupra and why
In 1996 the concept was born that later became the Cupra brand.. This expression is the abbreviation of the expression Cup Racing and its appearance is the result of a process based on an idea: to offer drivers a street car but one that can provide them with the same benefits that they can enjoy at the controls of a sports car.
It was a way of encouraging an important target to scratch their pockets to a greater extent than when they had in mind buying a Seat. Not in vain, the market prices of the Formentor or the Born are notably higher than those of their mother brand counterparts.
8. He was at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics
In the most important sporting event that has ever been held in Spain, Seat had a leading role. In addition, it manufactured its first electric with this very important appointment in mind. This model had to open the marathon and followed the race thanks to its 65 kilometers of autonomy, the half ton of weight implied by the batteries it carried on board and its power charger located on the front grill.
His involvement went further, since provided some 2,000 cars to the organization of the Barcelona Olympic Games to transport athletes, journalists and organizers. All this led to the launch of the Seat Toledo Podium, the most exclusive version of this car, which had a fixed telephone and fax as equipment.
9. The Estopas worked for her
Spanish readers will surely know, but those of you who follow us from another part of the world may not know. The Estopa duo worked for Seat at the Martorell factory before embarking on the road to success in music. The brothers David and José Manuel Muñoz dropped out of school at an early age and, among the jobs that came their way to make a living, this job opportunity appeared.
They dedicated themselves to building parts for the cars that left the factory and that experience served as inspiration for some of their songs, such as “La raja de tu falda”. In addition, in their single “Fuego” they burn a Seat Ibiza, so their link with the brand is impassive over time.
10. King Felipe VI had an Ibiza
When he turned 18, the current King of Spain, Felipe VI, received a Seat Ibiza as a gift by his father, Juan Carlos. Once written off, the vehicle was returned to the brand, restored and reserved for it a special place in the factory.