Seat sees China as a turnaround opportunity image

The Spanish brand is Volkswagen’s only money losing unit and now Europe’s largest automaker and the No.2 in the world is looking to expand Seat’s production to the bigges venue – China.

According to Juergen Stackmann, the head of the Seat brand, the company is in the process of examining options to locally assemble its models in what is today’s the world’s biggest auto market.

“It’s clear that a purely export-driven strategy won’t work” for Seat to be profitable in China. Also, “establishing local production in China would of course be a Herculean task for a brand like ours,” said Stackmann.

A final decision on the matter has not been made and at the moment Seat is focused on its efforts to improve European sales – considered vital for the turnaround efforts to bear fruit – as Seat seeks to narrow annual loses ever since 2009 and improve its Martorell, Spain assembly utilization.

“We’re optimistic for this year, especially because our home market in Spain is showing growth again,” Stackmann added.

Seat’s global sales went up in 2013 by 11% and in 2014 the company looks to further grow on demand for the new generation compact Leon, as it added the family station wagon ST model back in the final quarter of 2013 and will present the Cupra performance version in the second quarter of this year.