In 1979, we reinforce our manufacturing capacity by installing a specialised plant for the production of gearboxes, gear mechanisms and differentials in El Prat del Llobregat near Barcelona.
The presentation of the year is the SEAT Ritmo, an innovative, multi-purpose vehicle that establishes the guidelines of what the SEAT design pattern would be during the 1980s.
Another oil crisis shakes up the world economy in 1977, and SEAT faces increasing competition at home from multinational car manufacturers entering the Spanish automobile market.
The 3,000,000th SEAT car is produced in 1976: It is a 4-door model of the 127. That same year we also launch the 128 model – a car we market as "Three Times SEAT" to emphasise triple characteristics of sportiness, versatility and design.
The Martorell Technical Centre is taking up its activities in 1975. The first car conceived there is the 1200 Sport, presented this year.
In 1974, the 2,000,000th SEAT car is produced, and company sales rank us in 8th position amongst European car manufacturers.
Despite the deep crisis facing the automobile industry we go ahead with our expansion plans, purchase the Landaben (Pamplona) facilities and construct a spare parts centre in Martorell.
In 1973, the euphoria of SEAT‘s rapid growth is interrupted by a period of major change: The sudden shocks of the energy crises of 1973 and 1977 cause global disruption – while the death of General Franco in 1975 causes a change in the political framework of Spain.
Production ends for the emblematic 600 model after 16 years on the market with a total of 800,000 units sold. This same year, we launch two new models: the luxurious 132 saloon to replace the 1500 model, and the sporty 1430 Special 1600 model, an authentic GTI popularly known as "FU".
The construction of our R&D facilities, the SEAT Technical Centre in Martorell, begins: Our aim is to create, develop and manufacture cars – all done in-house.
The 124 model is launched in 1968 – a roomy saloon car with an innovative engine and a level of comfort beyond anything that we have done before. Our overall production reaches the 1 million mark.
In 1966, we launch the 850 model: It shares the same mechanical base as the 600 but offers more space and comfort as well as greater performance. It is the first vehicle to offer a wide range of versions – including a four-door, sports and convertible version.
SEAT makes its first 'symbolic' exports in 1965: We load different planes with our models and have them flown to Colombia.
In 1964, we open our new headquarters in Madrid.
The 'aristocratic' 1500 model replaces the 1400 model in the luxury segment in 1963.
The production of the SEAT 600 model is started on June 27th 1957. It is our answer to the growing demand for a more economic vehicle accessible to the emerging middle class in Spain. It initiates a massive motoring era, and becomes a Spanish symbol of mobility and liberty, often referred to as "pelotilla" (little ball).
In 1956, a historical landmark is reached when we produce 10,000 vehicles in one year – meaning that our daily production output is an average of 42 cars.
Our first plant in the Zona Franca District of Barcelona is inaugurated on June 5th 1953 with an initial workforce of 925 employees. It‘s where we manufacture our first SEAT car, a 1400 model, on November 13th: The elegant and spacious vehicle is aimed at the luxury market and suitable for use as a taxi. With a production output of 5 cars per day the high demand soon leads to order backlogs.
SEAT stimulates the development and growth of a Spanish auxiliary industry – smaller manufacturers of parts and components that now no longer have to be imported from abroad.
The Sociedad Española de Automóviles de Turismo, S.A. is founded on May 9th 1950 with a capital of 600 million Pesetas – the equivalent of roughly € 3,606,000. At that time in Spain, there were 3.1 vehicles per 1000 inhabitants – the country needed to be motorised.
The 2,000,000th SEAT car is produced.