SEAT SA is commencing production of an all-new car at its Martorell facilities in Spain. However, its plant won't be assembling a new SEAT car. The Spanish carmaker is now assembling the next generation of Audi’s small city car – the new 2019 Audi A1.
The sight of SEAT producing Audi vehicles isn't surprising as both carmakers are members of the larger Volkswagen Group. In addition, the A1 isn't the Audi vehicle produced at SEAT’s Martorrel site. In the middle of 2011, the VW Group assigned the SEAT facility to produce the Audi Q3 luxury subcompact crossover. Since then until July 2018, the Martorrel site had been producing the previous generation of the Audi Q3 and total Spanish production of the subcompact crossover reached nearly 800,000 units.
When the second generation of the Audi Q3 was unveiled, it was decided that the production of the subcompact crossover will be moved from Martorell to the Gyor facilities in Hungary. On the other hand, the previous generation of the A1 was assembled in Brussels. The idle manufacturing capacity at Martorrel left by the Audi Q3 might have prompted the VW Group to transfer the production of the second generation from Brussels to Martorell.
According to SEAT, the new Audi A1 is being produced exclusively at its Martorell site. Shipped to all markets where the small city car is sold, the new Audi A1 is contributing to the factory’s export volume that has already gone beyond 80 percent. Likewise, the production of the new A1 at Martorrel is expected to further improve the synergies and efficiencies with models underpinned by the same platform as the Audi small city car – VW Group’s MQB A0 modular architecture – such as the SEAT Ibiza and the SEAT Arona.
These recent developments mean that SEAT’s Martorrel site is now in-charge of producing three new models the past 18 months. In early 2017, the Martorrel factory commenced production of the fifth generation of the SEAT Ibiza small city car. A few months later, SEAT’s Spanish factory started assembling the all-new SEAT Arona mini crossover. With these models being produced at Martorrel, the site is ensured of a high production volume in next few years.
The addition of a new model and the subsequent increase of production volumes at SEAT’s Martorrel site also meant corresponding boost of the factory’s workforce. In fact, more than 500 employees were hired and given a permanent contract in 2018 alone. These new employees will also be assigned to work on strategic projects related to car connectivity and to SEAT digitalization. They will also be working on the development and launch of the all-new SEAT Tarraco mid-size SUV.