Although both sides will be facing different opponents in the quarter-finals – having progressed from the same group – we thought we’d match these countries together in our own tournament to find out just who claims the glory as the better car manufacturer.
The major history of the Spanish automobile industry can be most easily divided into two periods: before and after the formation of the “Sociedad Espa?ola de Autom?viles de Turismo” by the state in 1950. In a bid to reverse the negative effects of the Spanish Civil War, as well as the hit that the world’s economy took after World War II, S.E.A.T. was formed to boost Spanish car manufacturing after nervy neighbours caused a drop in imported cars to the country. Ironically, it was a partnership struck with Italian car firm Fiat that breathed new life into the Seat brand; the cash injection and business contacts allowed them to become the country’s top maker of cars, while Italy benefited from the profit share in a country that was economically better off than its own.
Seat remains Spain’s top manufacturer in what’s admittedly a bit of a one-horse race. Italy offers a much more diverse mix of options for prospective car owners than Spain. From the afore-mentioned generous benefactors Fiat, to speed freaks like Bugatti and Ferrari, Italy’s car production has had a rich history. If the level of success enjoyed by Fiat even in wartime was so high that they could co-fund production abroad, then it’s clear that the Italians hold the key to success that’s found lacking in Spain. Italy takes this quarter-final by a pretty resounding margin.