SEAT was formed in 1919 as a subsidiary of Fiat, with its cars known as Fiat-Hispania. It became SEAT – Sociedad Española de Automóviles de Turismo – in 1950 when the Spanish state took over. Fiat stayed very involved though, to the degree where most SEATs were simply Spanish-built copies of Fiat models such as the 600, 850, 1400 and Panda (which was known as the Marbella in export markets), although there were one or two unique SEATs.
Fiat’s involvement came to an end in 1981, leaving Volkswagen to take control in 1986. Since then, SEAT has built its own individually styled models, albeit using Volkswagen floorpans and engines, with its Ibiza the best-selling car in its range.