Currently reading: Seat's 'last chance' survival plan
Five-year restructuring plan must work, says CEO

Seat is to embark on a five-year restructuring plan - and company CEO James Muir has described it as "the last attempt for Seat as a brand".

"This is the last attempt for the brand. It wouldn't make sense to think anything else," Muir said, acknowledging his VW Group bosses are growing increasingly frustrated with the brand.

However, he acknowledged: "If one would want to get rid of Seat, one would have to give the other part money to take it."

Plans include better use of Seat's Martorell factory near Barcelona, which can produce 500,000 vehicles a year but currently runs at only 60 per cent capacity.

Muir stated that the plant must run at 90 per cent capacity to be profitable. Initiatives include production of Audi's small SUV, the Q3, in Spain from 2011. Around 80,000 units of that car are expected to be built per year.

Seat's previous three-year turnaround plan failed: sales fell 8.5 per cent to 336,683 cars in 2009.

Muir replaced Erich Schmitt last September.

The company's first quarter losses this year were lower year-on-year, at 110 million euros (£100m).

"I cannot solely rely on cost reduction to make Seat profitable. It'll be an uphill battle, but I believe it is possible," added Muir.

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Jon Hardcastle 14 May 2010

Re: Seat's 'last chance' survival plan

McJohn put it qell enough.

Seat have been for some years producing too many cars targetting a similar market, most look like MPV of one description or another apart from the Ibiza and Exeo. They were supposed to be the sporty arm of VAG but since the Leon of a few years ago where are they now? The Exeo is two generations ago Audi A4 (or atleast thats what it looks like) hardly inspiring - more dull.

They have become, what seems like, consigned to the 'Oh I forgot about those' at board level.

The interior design is almost as bland and barren looking as those found in BMW's but not quite as well screwed together.

The last one I showed any interest in was the Leon Cupra R but the interior on that made me walk away shaking my head.

The Spanish are supposed to have pizzaz and flair but Seat at the moment come across like the guy in the recent kitchen towel adverts 'Juan Sheet' (said in Spanish sounding voice comes across as 'One Sh!t').

RallyeSport Guy 14 May 2010

Re: Seat's 'last chance' survival plan

Put it this way, VW just doesn't know what to do with Seat, remember what happened to GM, had to cut most manfucatures from its portfolio, this could happen to seat. VW NEEDS to differenate seat from other VAG group members, leave Audi to deal with exec market, VW to do dependable cars, Skoda to do cheaper, and sometimes better VWs, Seat could either produce older designs but with modern tech ( like they did with the A4, put a common rail diesel in it) , or contiue to build hot hatches. This is what Seat is good at, the Leon FR is brillant and the Exeo is bloody refined for an older design.

Remember what happened to Saab. Gm bastardsed the brand (sorry for the but i feel anger towards Gm after that) by using Vectra cum caveler platforms for the 93 and 95, Saab used there highly expreinced engineers to make use of that, but utimatley GM saw Saab as a pet project, to produce turbo engines and 4wd chassis, and ruined the brand. Seat may follow if VW doesn't buck up its ideas of what Seat is.

TheWizardWeb 14 May 2010

Re: Seat's 'last chance' survival plan

RobotBoogie wrote:
Seat's are supposed to be full of Mediterranean flair but end up as mildly downgraded VWs

I was thinking the same thing. Somehow they should work-in the sunny Mediterranean flavour - wheres the cabrio? Where's the delightful sportscar you'd want to punt round the coastal roads? For a sporty brand there's no sports cars. Aside from the warmed over Leon and Ibiza, they have nothing. They seem to be stuck selling cars in sectors that Skoda and VW already have covered. Maybe a rebodied previous gen TT would help but they would still need something more.