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SEAT Celebrates Fifty Years on Wheels

Today SEAT is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the brand’s first vehicle, a SEAT 1400 that rolled off the Barcelona Zona Franca production line on 13 November 1953. It was a luxury vehicle in its time that heralded a highly successful manufacturing venture developed by SEAT over the years.

On the occasion of this significant milestone, SEAT president Dr. Andreas Schleef stressed “the continuous growth of the company, not only due to its technological advances, but especially thanks to the significant contribution made by its workers, has given the brand its significant market position over the last fifty years”.

Production of this car, equipped with a 44 hp engine delivering a top speed of 120 km/h, was a true cause for celebration in the company, as is its 50th anniversary.

To celebrate, a commemorative event took place in the Martorell facilities, featuring a representative group of company workers, both young and not so young, including three persons who participated in the production of the original SEAT 1400 in 1953.

More than 98,000 units of this four-door, three-section saloon car were manufactured until 1964. It was a spacious, comfortable and innovative car for those times. The body styling and interior design alike were clearly reminiscent of American cars of the period.

The SEAT 1400 was launched three years after the company was set up, on 9 May 1950, and five months after the Zona Franca facilities were inaugurated.

From 5 to more than 2,000 cars daily

At that time, the over 900 workers produced a daily output of 5 cars. With currently more than 14,300 employees, including personnel at the SEAT Technical Centre, the company turns out more than 2,000 units daily at its Martorell factory.

Since 1953, SEAT has manufactured over 14 million cars, sold all over the world, and manufacturing has been moved from the Zona Franca facilities to Martorell, where the company’s main production load is concentrated. This factory was opened in 1993 by King Juan Carlos, and produces over 450,000 vehicles every year.

The arrival of SEAT’s early models made cars affordable to Spanish society on all economic and social levels, and private ownership was led by the SEAT 600 icon, which became the most popular utilitarian in Spanish history.

Fifty years after the launch of the first SEAT car and following constant evolution, today the brand stands out in the market for its attractive, renewed product range, whose main values include their design and the sporty character which are underlined in the brand claim “SEAT auto emoción”. These character traits are clearly visible, among others, in the Ibiza, the most widely-sold model in the history of the brand, of which more than 3,000,000 units have already been manufactured since its launch in 1984.

zona franca 1953

The commemoration of this anniversary comes at a significant moment for SEAT, starting with its integration within the Audi Brand Group which includes Audi and Lamborghini, and next spring’s market launch of the Altea model.

The Altea is the first SEAT model created within the Audi Brand Group and is the turning point in the company’s history. It spearheads a new generation of cars which, along with the Ibiza and the León, will become one of the cornerstones of the brand.

The Altea therefore represents SEAT’s immediate future, one which would not be possible without the personal and technological experience gained by the company since the arrival of its first car, whose 50th anniversary gives great satisfaction to all company employees, who are the true players in its past, present and future.


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