The History of SEAT, CUPRA and Listers

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Listers SEAT Coventry Listers SEAT Worcester

Over its 70-year history, SEAT has produced over 19 million vehicles and has produced 75 different models. Although it is 70 years old, SEAT is considered to be one of the younger car manufacturers, and its sporty cars show no plans to slow down, with popularity for SEAT continuously growing.

Known as SEAT, an acronym for Sociedad Española de Automóviles de Turismo (Spanish Corporation of Private Cars), the company was founded in 1950 with the help of the Instituto Nacional de Industria and Fiat. As a result, the first models were simply rebadged and slightly modified Fiat’s. For instance, the SEAT Panda was based on the Fiat Panda. It wasn’t until 1963 that SEAT launched their own self-developed model, the SEAT 800 – a game changer for the brand. It was the first car for many Spanish families and was so popular that there is even a monument of the SEAT 800 in Spain.

The partnership with Fiat ended in 1982, leading to a change in the logo on SEAT’s part and the launch of the SEAT Ronda in the same year, the first car to be launched without the collaboration of Fiat. Later in the year, Volkswagen entered a partnership with SEAT.

SEAT has continued to launch hugely popular vehicles, including the Altea, and updated versions of favourites such as the Leon and the Ibiza. They have introduced EcoMotive and Sports versions, as well as launching a zero-emission sports coupe.

The first Listers SEAT retailer was inaugurated in 1995 in Coventry. This was followed by the opening of Listers SEAT Worcester in 2012.

SEAT Range

SEAT 800 - 1965
SEAT Evolution
SEAT Arona and SEAT Ibiza


CUPRA, formerly known as SEAT Sport, is the high-performance motorsport subsidiary of SEAT. CUPRA was the name given to the top-of-the-range high-performance models in the SEAT range. The name was formed by combining ‘Cup’ and ‘Racing’ in a nod to their success in motorsport, and the CUPRA badge has been applied to both road and track cars.

It was SEAT’s entry into the FIA 2-litre World Rally Cup that thrust the CUPRA brand forward. The Ibiza Kit Car proved to be a huge success on the rally stage, taking three straight Manufacturers’ titles in 1996, 1997 and 1998. This propelled the Ibiza from a budget hatchback to a competition-worthy hot hatch. The car also had success in British Rally Championships, ensuring the UK were aware of the Ibiza CUPRA.

In 2018, SEAT decided to make CUPRA a standalone performance brand, signalling the end of CUPRA models.



CUPRA Formentor

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