Thirty years ago today, the SEAT S.A. factory in Martorell was inaugurated. The anniversary coincides with the beginning of the company’s biggest transformation ever, with a total investment of three billion euros. This transition from combustion to electrification will involve all areas: research and development, production and logistics, commercial and people and organisation.
SEAT S.A.’s main factory will start producing fully electric vehicles by 2025 for different brands within the Group. To achieve this, the company has designed a strategic plan that includes five main pillars: people and organisation, electrification and product, production end to end (E2E), digitalisation and sustainability.
One of the key projects for the transformation is that SEAT S.A. will lead the Small BEV cluster for the Volkswagen Group; the family of cars that will democratise sustainable urban mobility for different brands. Martorell will become one of the Group’s production hub for these electric cars and a crucial part of the electric vehicle value chain in Spain.
CEO of SEAT and CUPRA Wayne Griffiths said: “Over the past 30 years, SEAT S.A. has created employment and boosted industrial growth in our country and there is even more planned for the future. Our ambition is to produce electric vehicles made in Spain from 2025 and, as part of this transformation, Martorell will also manufacture the CUPRA UrbanRebel. Thanks to this project, the most important for our company in the years ahead, our employees and the factory will begin a new era.”
The transformation of the company is in line with the clear commitment of SEAT S.A. and the Volkswagen Group to the electrification of Spain with the Future: Fast Forward project. Together with its partners, the plan includes the electrification of the Martorell and Pamplona factories, the construction of a new gigafactory for batteries in Sagunto (Valencia), and the creation of a complete supplier ecosystem. It is estimated that this country-wide project will have a positive impact on the Spanish economy of more than 21,000 million euros.
The introduction of the electric car also requires a cultural change among the workforce and the incorporation of new technology. The company has begun an ambitious training plan for its employees, with the aim of achieving a more efficient organisation and helping every team through these changes. In parallel, SEAT S.A. will invest in its production facilities to transform Martorell into a smart factory. To do this, it will implement data and business intelligence tools, virtual reality, and the use of big data to improve production processes and real-time monitoring.
Markus Haupt, Executive Vice-President for Production and Logistics at SEAT S.A., added: “As the focus of this transformation is in our factories, we have a great challenge ahead of us: changing our production processes to make electrification a reality. To achieve this, we will integrate new technologies into the Martorell site and train our staff to ensure that they have the necessary facilities and skills to handle the electrification of SEAT S.A..”
Production in Martorell: a driver of growth and development
Today, about 12,000 people work in the factory and at the headquarters of Martorell. The plant has a total surface area of 2.8 million square metres, which is equivalent to 400 football pitches.
Inaugurated in 1993 after 34 months of construction work, the factory began production after an investment of 244.5 billion Spanish pesetas (1.47 billion euros). SEAT S.A. shifted production from its old Zona Franca facilities in Barcelona, where the brand had been building cars since 1953, to the Martorell factory only 30 kilometres away. Since then, SEAT S.A. has produced more than 12 million vehicles out of a total of 45 models within the facility, exporting to more than 70 different countries around the world. Last year, 83% of the vehicles that rolled out of the production line were exported.
The first models to come off the Martorell assembly line were the second generation SEAT Ibiza and the first generation Cordoba, at a rate of 1,500 cars per day. In the last 30 years, the models that have been produced the most at the Martorell plant have been the SEAT Ibiza (4.7 million units), the Leon family (2.5 million) and the SEAT Cordoba (more than 1 million), while the most manufactured car today is the CUPRA Formentor. As part of the global production system of the Volkswagen Group, the Martorell plant has also produced the Audi Q3 and currently manufactures the Audi A1.
SEAT is the only company that designs, develops, manufactures and markets cars in Spain. A member of the Volkswagen Group, the multinational has its headquarters in Martorell (Barcelona), sells vehicles under the SEAT and CUPRA brands, while SEAT MÓ covers urban mobility products and solutions. SEAT exports more than 80% of its vehicles, and is present in 75 countries. SEAT employs over 15,000 professionals and has three production centres – Barcelona, El Prat de Llobregat and Martorell, where it manufactures the SEAT Ibiza, the SEAT Arona, the CUPRA Formentor and the Leon family. Additionally, the company produces the Ateca in the Czech Republic, the SEAT Tarraco in Germany, the SEAT Alhambra in Portugal and the Mii electric, SEAT’s first 100% electric car, in Slovakia. These plants are joined by SEAT:CODE, the software development centre located in Barcelona. SEAT will invest 5 billion euros through to 2025 in R&D projects for vehicle development, specifically to electrify the range, and in equipment and facilities. The company aims to make Martorell a zero-carbon footprint plant by 2050. https://www.seat.co.uk/
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