Brief History About SEAT
SEAT was founded in 1950 in Spain by the Instituto Nacional de Industria (National Institute of Industry) a Spanish state-owned financing and industrial holding company. SEAT stands for Sociedad Española de Automóviles de Turismo. Its origins actually go back to before WW2, but the company formation was delayed due to the war. As a start-up automotive company they required the help of an experienced manufacturer and therefore partnered with Fiat, mainly selling rebadged and slightly altered Fiat cars at first.
SEAT originally built cars for the domestic market (1953-1965). In 1965 they started to export their cars, setting up a good export network by 1969 that has grown quite considerably since.
During the 70’s SEAT worked with several other makes of cars and also got involved in motorsport (mainly Rallying). In 1982 SEAT and Fiat parted ways due to financial disputes, which left SEAT and the Spanish government looking for a new partner, which included Toyota, Nissan and Mitsubishi, however that same year they collaborated with Volkswagen on several operations that later in 1983 led to VW being chosen as their new partner. VW then gradually bought shares in SEAT and by 1990 pretty much owned almost all of the shares in SEAT.
In 2002 SEAT became part of the Audi Brand Group and also started participating in Touring Cars, then GT racing in 2003. Also in 2002 they release the Leon Cupra, which has become their main performance vehicle.