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La primera crisis de SEAT: el veto a General Motors y la compra de AUTHI a British Leyland (1972-1976)

By Jordi Catalán Vidal


In 1972 SEAT was the first Spanish industrial firm and led the export of automobiles, thanks to a nationalist policy. However, the industrial policy of late Francoism experienced a dramatic change with the approval of Ford’s decrees. Such a change included the invitation to General Motors to rescue the Spanish subsidiary of British Leyland Motor Corporation (BLMC), AUTHI, in 1973. The purchase of its plant in Landaben by SEAT in 1975 has to be considered more the consequence of a pact preventing the entrance of General Motors than the outcome of direct pressure by government. The increase in the size of employment resulted to be a very risky decision for a company which was experiencing a significant push on labour costs since 1969 and a dangerous fall in demand since 1974. Moreover, the change of policy and the further removal of the veto on General Motors, would contribute to jeopardize the relationship with FIAT, ending the Honey moon experienced during the early seventies. KEY Classification-JEL: L62, N64, N84, O14Automobile industry, SEAT, General Motors, BLMC, FIAT, Ford, Spain

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