SEAT are looking to take big strides next year with the release of four models as they look to their sister company for motivation.
President of SEAT James Muir has made a candid speech at the launch of the new city car Mii in Barcelona. In his speech, he eluded to wanting the Spanish brand to emulate their sister company Skoda's success. That SEAT had yet to reach the heights of the Czech firm he described as "tragic." "They (Skoda) have done it with a clear vision and product strategy - and management who knew where they wanted to take the brand. SEAT just hasn't had this."
"I've been in this role for two years and new product cycles are seven to eight years so it takes time to change things. I'm working on it - just give me a chance!" Muir also revealed his disappointment that only a select few of SEAT's creations were matching his expectations. "The Exeo is limited compared to today's offerings. It was a brave move to enter that segment, but was it the right one? Ibiza and Alhambra do very well for us, but do the others? I'm not so sure. Our models absolutely have to hit the bullseye of their product segments, and we're not quite there yet."
In the UK, things are going well with sales up ten percent in a market that has dropped by five. Their market share is also at record levels, currently at 1.8 percent of total UK sales. Putting this in context, these figures are even more impressive as no major car launches have taken place in the past year. Four new models are in the pipeline for 2012 and Muir confirmed a Mii, a refreshed Ibiza, the next-gen Leon and the Toledo will arrive in the new year. "We will be targeting the French makers and Fiat for conquest sales. We build better cars than them and can steal market share from them."
"The products we've got coming will define our future. They will be about great design matched with German engineering. We haven't got everything right in the past, but we're working on that." 2012 looks to be a pivotal year for SEAT and any improvement in their sales will be music to the ears of VW, who is on a mission to become the world's premier automaker.