Seat Will Cut Jobs and Add Models Simultaneously
Oh, and also grow like crazy at the same time
By Brendan Moore
Erich Schmitt, CEO of Volkswagen’s Spanish Seat brand, told the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that Seat will both cuts jobs and add more car models in its drive to hit its ambitious 2018 targets.
Schmitt says Seat will cut 700 more jobs in addition to the 900 that have gone away already and also perform the alchemy of reducing production time for the popular Seat Ibiza to 18 hours from 27, when the next-generation model is launched.
Schmitt added, “We will be finished with the staff reductions in this year.”
But, wait there’s more.
“Our targets for 2018 are doubling vehicle sales to 800,000 … while … expanding our model range as well as a return on investment of more than 15 percent,” Seat Chief Executive Erich Schmitt said in the interview published on Tuesday.
“Today, Seat offers only seven cars in three segments. In the next three to four years, we will have 15 vehicles in eight segments. By the year 2018, it will be 40,” Schmitt said.
Schmitt intends to retain the Toledo and add a new model called the Bolero, which comes from the Audi A4 platform and will be more substantial than the Leon.
Whew! That’s a lot of magic to be performed by Seat, but they seem confident, if nothing else. VW has huge growth goals and Seat seems to have gotten the same optimism injected into its plans.
Schmitt also added that he expected a decision from VW, the corporate parent, in the next 180 days, on whether to enter the South American market.
“Mexico and Brazil are … locations where (we) can build cars for Latin America without currency risk,” he said.
And finally, Schmitt shrugged off the suggestion that Porsche, the recently-ascendant majority shareholder of VW, was unhappy with Seat, and wanted to jettison the brand. There has been a lot of speculation that Porsche loved Skoda, Seat’s over-achieving corporate brother, hated Seat, and saw no reason to keep Seat around in the new regime. Schmitt said none of that chatter was true, and in fact, that Wendelin Wiedeking, the CEO of Porsche was one of Seat’s biggest supporters.
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