SEAT looks to build on strong start to year
SEAT has unveiled a host of summer offers in a clear bid to build on strong early sales in 2011.
The VW group subsidiary has achieved its best ever UK market share of 1.8 per cent year to date, and in March saw this figure boosted to 1.98 per cent.
The brand has also significantly increased its dealer network in the UK – having had 112 outlets two years ago, it will achieve 125 by the end of 2010, with an ultimate aim of a network size around the 130 mark.
SEAT is currently number one in its home market of Spain, a feat more difficult than many might consider due to Opel, Ford and the major French brands all having strong presences in the country including production facilities.
The strong start to the year is good news for SEAT’s parent VW Group, as the brand is regarded as the group’s problem child, and yet to turn a profit under VW ownership. Its difficulties have mainly been caused by too much reliance on its home market in the past, at a time when Spanish sales could not sustain it.
SEAT’s issues were used by Fiat Group head Sergio Marchionne in an attempt to fight off the VW Group’s desire to take over Fiat’s Alfa Romeo brand. Marchionne said VW should sort SEAT’s problems before turning its eyes on Alfa Romeo.
An ambition to own Alfa Romeo has been very publicly stated by VW head Ferdinand Piech, VW seeing SEAT and Alfa Romeo fitting together in similar fashion to Skoda and VW itself – the former effectively a budget sister to the latter.
SEAT’s offers are headed by an equipment-heavy value version of the Ibiza supermini, which has been outselling Fiat’s 500 and the Nissan Micra. Costing £9,995, the Ibiza S Copa includes such items as 15-inch alloy wheels and cruise control.
Copa models are also available for the SE trim level of the Ibiza, adding what SEAT says is £1,120 worth of extra equipment for a price rise of £500.
Words by: Andrew Charman