SEAT Starts Their Big Push to Big Sales
By Brendan Moore
SEAT, Volkswagen’s subsidiary in Spain, has a business goal of getting to 800,000 sales a year by 2018. It’s all part of Volkswagen AG getting to its goal of being the largest vehicle manufacturer in the world by 2018, and SEAT, Volkswagen’s often-overlooked Spanish arm, getting to its goal of being somebody on the world automotive stage.
If SEAT is able to reach 800,000 sales a year by 2018, that would signify a doubling of their current sales volume, all within ten years.
How does SEAT plan to get there from here?
SEAT plans to unveil 2-3 new vehicles per year from now until 2018, starting with the new Ibiza. The new model was shown for the first time at the Madrid Auto Show this year, and is a big step forward for the company. It is SEAT’s first model off the Volkswagen Group AO platform, and it is a splashy debut for the corporate platform within the SEAT family.
Erich Schmidt, president of SEAT as of 18 months ago, stated that the Ibiza represents massive increases in quality, precision and reliability.
“We’ve improved in all those three areas. Our faults per 1,000 have dropped from 37 in 2002 to 4.3 last year”. It’s one of the biggest improvements in the industry over that time”, commented Schmidt.
Since only two models in the SEAT lineup, Leon and Ibiza, currently account for over 70% of SEAT sales, the company is intent on diversifying their product range as well.
To that end, SEAT is also planning a D segment car to do battle with the Renault Laguna and Peugeot 407 in its current geographic market region. This yet-unseen car will show up at the end of 2008 and go on sale in Europe in early 2009 as both a sedan and estate/combi/wagon. It is based on the current (but soon-to-depart) Audi A4 platform and will be built at SEAT’s production facility in Martorell, Spain.
SEAT is also rumored to have reached a “yes” decision on whether to put the Tribu concept, unveiled at the Frankfurt show in 2007, into production. The Tribu will be SEAT’s entry into the sizzling-hot small crossover segment in Europe and will contest market share with Peugeot 4007, Ford Kuga, Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V. It is a given that the production version of the Tribu will be a platform derivative of Volkswagen’s recently-launched and much-lauded Tiguan.
VW up! concept
It’s not just about product expansion, though.
SEAT also plans to ride parent VW Group’s coattails into Russia, China, India and South America at some undefined point in the future. It has not escaped anyone’s notice that SEAT also recently starting selling their cars in Mexico, which is only a hop, skip, and a jump from the largest auto market in the world – North America. It is a pretty safe wager that SEAT would find a great many willing buyers in North America and the United States in particular.
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