SEAT is celebrating a milestone birthday. The first SEAT 600, the most important model for mobility in Spain, is 60 years old today. 27 June 1957 was the registration date of the first unit of a model that, until the arrival of the Ibiza, was the brand’s most iconic vehicle. Manufactured in the Barcelona Zona Franca factory, the launch of the 600 coincided with the inauguration of the SEAT Apprentices School. Today, 60 years and 2,600 students later, the company’s centre is still training future brand employees.
Seven years after SEAT’s foundation, and following the launch of the 1400 model for the well-heeled class, the 600 was truly revolutionary. It was aimed at the country’s emerging middle class and soon became a runaway success. In order to fulfil such high demand, SEAT progressively increased production, going from 40 cars per day in early 1958 to 240 by late 1964. These figures, which were record-setting at the time in Spain, are a long way from the 700 Ibiza units that SEAT currently makes every day. From 1957 to 1973, SEAT sold 794,406 units of the 600.
Here are a few key facts:
If the 600 was behind the mobility of an entire nation, the Ibiza catapulted SEAT into Europe. At nearly 5.5 million units sold, SEAT’s best-seller enabled the brand to expand its business internationally since its launch in 1984. Today, Germany is SEAT’s main market, and other countries such as Mexico, Turkey and Israel are on the list of the company’s top importers. The fifth generation Ibiza is now on sale. Built in Martorell on the new MQB A0 platform, the Ibiza is the first model to use this platform and will continue to boost sales of the brand.
The new Arona, which was presented yesterday, is SEAT’s first foray into the compact crossover segment. Built on the same platform as the Ibiza, it will be available in dealerships in November, making it SEAT’s fourth launch in the last 18 months as part of the biggest product offensive in company history. SEAT has invested 900 million euros on both models, and with the Arona will increase its market coverage to 75%. The Arona will also help boost SEAT sales even more, which from January to May this year grew by 13.9%.