Remember the rumours about VW selling Seat to the Chinese?

According to senior company sources it was never quite that bad. But bad enough, mainly through appalling product planning. How's this for an example? The original Toledo was good for around 140,000 sales a year. The current (ugly) one is doing less than 15,000 apparently. Which probably means four figures.

That said, despite the Spanish market being in a worse state that ours, the future looks a lot brighter for Seat now. Erich Schmidt the charismatic boss has turned it around.

Using the old A4 as the basis for the new Exeo was his audacious idea and it looks like paying off at home. Schmidt is also now dead set on making Seat a big player in South America, where the cultural connections mean that buyers in Mexico and Brazil get the brand.

Schmidt also wants to start building cars there, probably an Ibiza saloon and a bigger four-door based on the new US-market VW (pictured below).

China's on the cards too.

But how about Seat's sporty image? A roadster based on the VW Bluesport concept is likely, but not before Dr Schmidt has got the books back in order.