Seat, Volkswagen AG’s most unprofitable unit will be exposed for the first time in China, next month at Shanghai Motor Show. The Spanish automaker is expected to hit the Chinese auto market somewhere in 2012.
Supposedly, “the announcement was made unwittingly in response to a question from the audience at the annual Volkswagen media and investor conference.”
James Muir, the Welshman who took charge of Seat in 2009, told Autocar that the time is right to enter the burgeoning Chinese market.
“We are appealing to a new generation of Chinese customers, young, design-orientated people buying the cars themselves [rather than with their parents’ support] who are looking for cars that express their personality.”
Volkswagen AG has set a five-year timeline on its Seat brand to stop its financial losses and dwindling sales, or the parent auto group will be forced to wind the brand down, according to Bloomberg.
Since its beginnings in 1953, more than 16 million SEAT cars have been produced with the most successful product in the range being the SEAT Ibiza, a model which has sold over 4 million units in its four generations up to the present.
In the year 2009, the total annual retail sales number of SEAT cars was 336,683 vehicles, while the annual production of vehicles under the SEAT brand came up to 307,502 units (301,287 made in SEAT’s Martorell plant and 6,215 in other Volkswagen group’s factories).