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The Sociedad Española de Autómoviles de Turismo, or SEAT, was founded in 1950 as a joint venture between the Spanish government and Italian car manufacturer Fiat. Until 1982, SEATs were rebadged Fiats, and basic models like the tiny 600, introduced in 1957, helped the Spanish people take to the road in unprecedented numbers. By 1968, SEAT had produced a million cars, and another million followed by 1974. In 1982 Fiat cut its ties to SEAT, and the following year Volkswagen signed a cooperative agreement with the Spanish company. In 1986, Volkswagen purchased 51 percent of SEAT, and acquired sole ownership in 1990. SEAT became active in rallying in the 1990s, and the SEAT Ibiza won three consecutive World Rally Championships in 1996-1998. In 1999, SEAT introduced the León, based on the Volkswagen Golf. SEAT introduced the Exeo, a compact executive car, at the 2008 Paris Motor Show.

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