SEAT is one of the leading car makers in Spain. It was founded in the year 1950 as subsidiary of Fiat, with an important share of the Spanish Government. After the withdrawal of Fiat, the Volkswagen Group, through its parent company VAG, became in the year 1986 the major shareholder, and in 1990 owner of a 100% of the company.
The acronym "SEAT" means Sociedad Española de Automóviles de Turismo (Spanish Corporation of Private Cars).
SEAT has manufacturing plants in Barcelona, in Martorell (a nearby industrial city) and in Pamplona. The plant of Martorell is one of the newest in Europe. In the year 2002 more than 450,000 cars were manufactured in this plant.
SEAT has own sales and distribution facilities in 70 countries. The number of employees is 13,000. Additionally, 1,250 people work in the research and development center in Martorell.
The company develops and designs its own models of cars in accordance with the policies of the Volkswagen Group. Some of its cars have been sold as Volkswagens, such as the Seat Ibiza hatchback, known in South Africa as the VW Polo Playa. For the purpose of model strategy SEAT belongs to Audi together with Lamborghini and Rolls-Royce, all subsidiaries of the Volkswagen Group.