The launch of the new Seat Leon marks a turning point for the firm, according to its marketing chief Christian Stein.
The new Leon is seen as critical to Seat's chances of emerging from years of losses, with Stein describing it as “a chance to reinvent ourselves. This is a turning point for us”.
Stein said the look of the new Leon was “the ultimate expression for the Seat brand”, adding that its new look would have a halo effect on the rest of the firm's models.
“The look and feel of Seat is changing,” he said. "We can offer both a rational and an emotional purchase. We’re Latin flair with German engineering”. None of Seat’s chief rivals from France or Italy were able to make such a claim, Stein added.
“It’s because of this we can sustain our place in the VW Group and in the marketplace,” said Stein. “We have a strong product strategy and aggressive market expansion planned.”
The new five-door Leon will be joined by a three-door hatchback and an estate version to create a three-strong model line-up. “This will allow us to cover more of the market and appeal to more customers,” he explained, noting that the firm had already done a similar thing with the Ibiza range.
Seat now has an increasing presence in fast-growing markets Russia and China, and has spotted expansion opportunities in other markets where it is outperforming rivals. These include Mexico, Algeria, Israel and Turkey.
In Germany Seat is the second fastest growing car brand, something Stein believes is down to people now knowing there is VW Group technology behind the bolder designs.