Spain has been known as one of the strong Western countries that explored the world and conquered territories. This fact can be used as an allegory to the fact that Spain is also trying its best to dominate the global car making industry. With a handful of Spanish car brands, the company is truly mighty proud to have originated some of the most influential and still very much recognised car names today. Among these are the SEAT cars.
SEAT cars are manufactured by Spain-based manufacturer Sociedad Espanola de Automoviles de Turismo, which when translated into English would say 'Spanish Corporation of Touring Cars'. As a company, SEAT was founded in the year 1950. Originally, the company was not able to design and develop its own car models. Instead, SEAT existed to manufacture and distribute re-badged versions of popular cars at the time, especially those from Italy's Fiat.
SEAT and Fiat had a long history of cooperation. Because SEAT could not make and design its own cars models, it was highly reliant on the car developments and models produced by the Italian car assembler. For many years since its institution, SEAT was known for the cars it made, which were all based on the then existing Fiat car models. If you were able to buy a SEAT car at the time, you would notice that all the models are carrying the SEAT name. But looking closely at the overall design and function, you would surely notice that SEAT cars are indeed highly identical in all aspects to several FIAT car models.
In naming its car models, SEAT made sure it would establish the link between its cars and the models where those vehicles were based. For example, the SEAT Panda as a restyled Fiat Panda, while the SEAT 600 was purely inspired by the FIAT 600, which later became the pioneer car, made specifically for Spanish families.
As decades passed, the company soon realised that it must soon get out of the shadow of Fiat. The partnership has been great and productive, but analysts noted that somehow, the company has to come out of the Fiat shadow. In the year 1981, SEAT and Fiat finally decided to end the 31-year close alliance or relationship between them. However, such a separation was not free from scandals, allegations and fights.
Former allies became the fiercest of enemies when Fiat in 1982 sued SEAT for allegedly breaching its patents. Earlier that year, SEAT stood alone and made its own car model, called the SEAT Ronda. However, Fiat lodged a legal complaint when it noticed that the SEAT Ronda was like a version of the Fiat Ritmo, which was eventually pulled out of the market because of this blunder.
The fall of the partnership pushed SEAT to form another alliance the same year. Volkswagen Group had entered into a deal to cooperate with SEAT's car assembly efforts. The relationship flourished and became a standard car industry pairing. In 1986, Volkswagen rose to become a major investor in SEAT, and in 1990, moved to fully takeover the company. Up until this day, SEAT remains one of the brands included in Volkswagen's increasing car asset portfolio.
Original Authors: Manny
Edit Update Authors: M.A.Harris
Updated On: 11/06/2008