SEAT (pronounced say-aat) is a brand that us Malaysians hardly ever hear when it comes to cars. But over in continental Europe, it’s a household name to the likes of our local favourite – the Myvi. The Spanish brand now belongs to the mighty Volkswagen conglomerate of companies.
On the occasion of SEAT Technical Centre’s 40th anniversary, Executive Committee President, Jürgen Stackmann announced during the visit to the company’s facility in Martorell that the company will be spending 3.3 billion euros (approximately RM16.01 billion) in the next four years in expanding the company.
The whale of a sum is ear marked for research and development of new technology into new products, equipment and site expansion. Room to grow, one might say. This cash injection is the biggest in the company’s history thus far, which will see two brand new models emerge in the next four years. SEAT aims to spend on innovation to ensure competitiveness and employment, thus securing the future of the brand .
The first model of SEAT’s offensive to reach the showrooms during the first half of 2016 will be a compact SUV, the brand’s first incursion into this segment. At this juncture, one would be parsing on the question on why this is such a big deal. Consider this. SEAT is one of the main pillars in the Spanish automotive industry. To that note, SEAT contributes 10 percent to the country’s GDP.
Over the course of these last 40 years, the SEAT Technical Centre has become the main local and national driver of industry and serves as a catalyst of technological development among businesses, institutions, universities and suppliers to the company all over Spain. Today, it occupies an extension of 200,000 square metres and by the end of the year will employ 1,000 engineers, after the addition of 100 new employees who have been recruited recently.