Small, relatively cheap electric vehicles such as the Seat Minimó could save the city car, according to the firm’s boss Luca de Meo.
Discussing the future of cars like the Seat Mii - a joint venture alongside the Skoda Citigo and Volkswagen Up - de Meo said: “When we sell a Mii I don’t make any money, the dealer makes maybe 200 euros and maybe they’ll then get 100 euros from the first service, only for the car to be taken to a local garage afterwards. There is not much business in that over 10 years.
“But how do most people use those cars? Would it be better for them and for us to buy transport by the kilometre, rather than the car? A Mii is massively over-engineered for a car that will most often be used for three miles to get across town.
“Wouldn’t the customer and our business be better off if they could rent a cheaper, but more fit for purpose vehicle for 20 cents a kilometre? If that vehicle was in more use, shared by users, and it covered 150-200 miles a day I’d be looking at 15,000 euros over three years.
“If a vehicle like the Minimó can be made for half the cost of a Mii then there is a business case for it. Not overnight, but there could be a solution there. And this is especially true when a car like the Mii, even at its most efficient, produces about 90g/km of CO2. If the target you need to hit is below 80g/km, then you may as well build a car than emits 0g/km.”