Located in the city’s Zona Franca, the SEAT Barcelona factory is where the history of SEAT began; it has always been an important milestone for the city and remains an active business hub to this day.
The plant began its activity in 1953 with the production of the brand’s first models, such as the SEAT 1400 or the SEAT 600, the car that put Spain on wheels. In 1993, car manufacturing was moved to the Martorell plant and since then the Barcelona plant has been producing cold-stamped parts (such as door panels, roofs, fenders and roof rails), hot-stamped parts and bodywork assemblies such as moving parts (doors, tailgate and bonnet).
These facilities are where SEAT currently manufactures 80% of the parts for the MQB A0 platform, on which models such as the SEAT Ibiza, Arona, Audi A1 and VW Polo are made, as well as most of the stamped parts of its vehicle models. In 2019 alone, more than 54.8 million parts were made for SEAT and different Volkswagen Group brands all over the world, which were exported from Barcelona to 22 factories located in six countries. Today, more than 1,179 employees work at this SEAT facility.
An industrial benchmark
SEAT Barcelona stands out for the application of innovative technological developments such as virtual simulation of the PXL press, 3D printing in the maintenance workshop, automatic replacement of robot welding caps in the body shop and automation of logistics flows by means of autonomously guided vehicles.
Over the past five years, the SEAT Barcelona plant has undergone a continuous process of improvement and modernisation. The investments made in 2019 were mainly for a press and two hot-stamping lines. The new PXL press enables SEAT Barcelona to increase its productivity thanks to increased automation and manufacturing speed, as well as an advanced robotic system. The improvements in productivity in recent years motivated the Catalan Automotive Industry Cluster (CIAC) to recognise SEAT Barcelona with the CIAC award for Best Industrial Productivity in 2018.
The Barcelona factory has high quality standards and sustainability criteria in its manufacturing process, and its commitment to environmental protection is fundamental. This is why it has a “Cargometro” train line that transports components directly to the Martorell factory, doing away with 32,000 truck trips from our roads and reducing CO2 emissions by 1,800 tonnes per year. Along these lines, SEAT Barcelona is also committed to biomass as a sustainable and ecological energy source. Since 2014 it has supplied air conditioning heat from the Ecoenergies biomass cogeneration plant. The consumed biomass during the period 2014-2019 mostly came from pruning in Barcelona’s parks and gardens, which led to a reduction of 3,800 tonnes of CO2 emissions for SEAT Barcelona.
An iconic building
The building inside the industrial complex of the Barcelona factory which houses the canteen was designed by César Ortiz-Echagüe, Manuel Barbero and Rafael de la Joya. One of its unique features is that it was the first in Spain built with an innovative aluminium structure characteristic of the aviation industry. The space is shaped like a comb, creating a series of landscaped courtyards connected by pergolas that break up the monotony of classically designed mass-production facilities. The project became one of the first brand images, whereby its architectural innovation became synonymous with the company’s modernity and efficiency. Furthermore, a jury chaired by Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe awarded it the Reynolds Memorial Award from the American Institute of Architecture.
Historic car collection
SEAT Barcelona’s A122 building houses a collection of historic cars made up of more than 280 vehicles manufactured in the last half century.