Currently reading: Seat will turn £131 million loss around, says boss
New Seat chief Jürgen Stackmann tells Autocar how he will turn the brand's fortunes around
News
2 mins read
18 October 2013

Seat will look to become a brand which is "more than just the Ibiza" in order to reverse its fortunes, says new boss Jürgen Stackmann. 

The Seat chairman said the Volkswagen Group’s loss-making Spanish brand is looking to use the new Leon family, as well as expansion in new markets, to turn around last year’s £131 million loss on sales of 321,000 cars.

Seat is suffering because 80 per cent of its sales take place in the depressed European market and, as Spain’s number one brand, it is also suffering significantly from the collapse in its home market. It does, however, have an impressively youthful buyer base, with customers an average ten years younger than Skoda buyers.

“I can’t predict when we will be back in the black, but I aim to make Seat into a solid company,” said Stackmann. He also revealed that Seat was doing well in expanding markets such as Turkey and that sales were up 26 per cent in Germany and 15 per cent in the UK in the first eight months of this year. Seat is also expanding in Mexico, and it has eight dealers in China as part of an exercise to launch the brand in the world’s largest new car market.

“The Leon will become a core Seat model and will eventually match Ibiza sales,” said Stackmann. “The five-door Leon FR is a perfect expression of Seat: dynamic without being too hard. Seat design will make the driver feel younger and more sporting, but we won’t go to extremes. We don’t want to look like some niche brand.”

Stackmann said sales of the new Leon were up 40 per cent this year and that the arrival of the Leon ST estate would help it to push into European fleet sales. “There will be two more years of innovation around the new Leon,” he said. “The next-generation Cupra will amaze you and be a strong contender.” Seat will be a ‘late follower’ in the market for plug-in hybrids, however, with Stackmann placing more faith on compressed natural gas for greener motoring.

Seat’s crossover is still at least two years away, but Stackmann revealed that Seat would continue to build the Mk5 Golf-based Altea and Altea XL MPVs. “The Altea XL is underestimated,” he said. “We should be making more of it.”

Advertisement
Advertisement

Find an Autocar review

Read our review

Car review
Seat Leon 5dr hatch

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

Join the debate

Comments
11
Add a comment…
Andrew Lee 20 October 2013

Tango

I still reckon SEAT's concept sports car should've been produced. VAG could use a sub-TT roadster and it would confirm SEAT's 'sporty' image. They need a halo model, along with a funky Tiguan-based SUV. Why IS this model taking so long by the way? Oh and forget the Exeo end of the market too.

AndyT 19 October 2013

Given SEAT is 100% owned by

Given SEAT is 100% owned by VW, any failing of SEAT is a failing of VW/VAG.
VW introduces SEAT to South Africa in the mid 2000s and then withdraws a few years later. VW pulls SEAT from Argentina to make way for Audi an now they talk about finding new markets?
However negative comments aside, SEAT is no Alfa (or Lancia) it's sales are infinitely higher. Nettingham provided the impressive Uk numbers, in Europe's biggest car market Germany, SEAT is a top ten player outselling Fiat, Peugeot, Citroen and Toyota.
Year to end of September in Germany:-
SEAT 61,885
Alfa 2,695
(Lancia 1,207)
Maybe if VAG gave SEAT factories in China, India, Russia it would have a better chance of matching sister marque Skoda's sales?

fadyady 18 October 2013

The new Leon ...

... has a lot going for it - more than what's under the bonnet.
Its arguably the best looking and easily the most value for money of the VW lot. It should help Jurgen in turning Seat's fortunes around.

Find an Autocar car review