Seat has to focus on the main segments, its CEO says image

For VW’s Spanish unit to grow, it has to expand on the most popular segments, Chief Executive Luca de Meo told to Automotive News.

Seat closed 2015 with increased sales for the third consecutive year, as brand deliveries broke the barrier of 400,000 vehicles sold, up slightly by 2.4 percent, marking the best sales result since 2017. However, this is not enough for VW’s unit to make solid earnings, and the newly appointed chief Luca de Meo has a though task ahead. Former bosses have tried to shift the brand towards the mainstream segments, as this path is the right one for the company and the direction has to be kept for further volume growth, de Meo told in an interview to Automotive News. Even if the popular segments are evidently the most competitive ones, the CEO believes Seat has the right tools to succeed and its infotainment area could be a strong point for the company.

To be a successful brand, the market share needs to be as high as possible, and only at 20 percent “you become a top player,” while Seat is above 5 percent – when the model only starts to be noticed – with the Leon compact in Europe and almost at the same level with the smaller Ibiza. As far as the mini and sedan segments, the chief said that volumes were very low and badge engineering should be avoided as much as possible, as it hurts the brand image with no big gains. Seat has the Mii city-car based on VW Up and the Toledo compact sedan derivate from the Skoda Rapid. In the SUV segment, Luca de Meo targets a 5 percent share for the new Ateca, while the midsize sedan area is not quite on company’s plans, as the margins are thin because of the high number of fleet sales, he said.

Via Automotive News