Currently reading: New Seat boss lays out plans to make brand a tech leader
Seat must establish itself as a class leader in key areas, including infotainment, says new boss Luca de Meo

New Seat boss Luca de Meo believes his company has "a historic opportunity" to lift itself away from the Volkswagen-led mainstream and "become a front-runner in some important areas" as a result of the recent Wolfsburg upheaval.

De Meo, who took command at Seat barely four weeks ago, believes the recent announcement by group chief Matthias Muller that divisional managements should be more devolved in future may allow Seat to be a leader in areas such as infotainment, "rather than just living under the same umbrella" as the rest the group divisions. "I have some ideas already," he said, "but they are only ideas."

For now, though, de Meo is intent on implementing departing boss Jurgen Stackmann's "solid and logical" model and business plans, which are understood to involve introducing two brand new SUV models in the mainstream market. The models will allow Seat access to 80% of the car market, not the present 50%.

"At present we have 1.2% of the market in terms of sales, which makes us pretty well invisible in some of our 70-odd markets," said de Meo. "We need some models that can make 5% or 6% of a segment, to get us on people's shopping lists."

De Meo is confident Seat is close to its long-sought profitability, as a result of "good foundations" laid by his predecessor Stackmann, and Englishman James Muir before that.

He believes the existing plan should continue, more or less unmodified, for the next two or three years. "It would be a little bit weird if I were to start changing our direction after four weeks in the job," he said. "But it is my hope, my dream and my aspiration to find ways to make us unique. In most automotive fields, people are learning by doing at present. This puts us at the same level as everyone else - and we also have access to premier league technology from the wider group."

De Meo also dismissed suggestions that his former Fiat connections might lead him to "do an Alfa Romeo" with Seat - even though that is a connection VW Group patriarch Ferdinand Piech took pains to make some years ago. "When you're talking about branding," said de Meo, "benchmarking yourself against someone else just doesn't work. It means you'll always be second. Our task is to find our own formula. I don't have the answer today, but I intend to work on it."


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Seat's third-generation Leon is attractive and capable, but it can't quite reach the benchmark set by the imperious Volkswagen Golf

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Uncle Mellow 11 December 2015


Skoda = Budget , VW = Mainstream, Audi = pseudo-premium
Bentley = Luxury, Lambo = OTT, Bugatti was a great name pre-war
Seat is what you rented on your hols !
AndyT 11 December 2015

Any article on SEAT always

Any article on SEAT always seems to entice the inevitable "why does it even exist" comments.
Given VW throws money at Skoda with endless new models and factories in China, Russia etc.. and all SEAT gets so faris the "new" Leon, SEAT does incredibly well.
Its a top ten brand in Germany where it outsells many larger brands and also in Mexico, where Skoda isn't even sold. Given the popularity of the Ibiza and Leon, if VW actually gave SEAT the support and money it gave Skoda, it would no longer be the poor relation. SEATs are everywhere here in York.
As for the comment on the silly name - it's originally derived from Sociedad Española de Automóviles de Turismo and I think we all pretty know how to pronounce SEAT by now. It's no "sillier" than Skoda (which I believe means something less than glamorous in Czech) and have you heard how Americans pronounce Peugeot? Let's say the beginning sounds rather cra*py.
rmcondo 12 December 2015

"The Škoda Works (Czech:

"The Škoda Works (Czech: Škodovy závody) was one of the largest European industrial conglomerates of the 20th century, founded by Bohemian industrialist Emil Škoda in 1859 in Plzeň, then in the Kingdom of Bohemia, Austrian Empire".
kamlottis 11 December 2015

Let loose

Its a wonder Seat has even come this far.....which proves something about standing up to the VW sharks against winding it down. With Mathias Muller at the helm, this space could now open up....for De Meo to prove a point !