SEAT’s four new cars for 2012

28 Mar, 2011 2:07pm Tom Phillips

New Leon and new city car all on the menu as Spanish brand SEAT attempts to turn its fortunes around.

Things are looking up for SEAT! The beleaguered Spanish brand has posted encouraging sales figures for the first two months of 2011, and things are set to expand further as the firm prepares to launch four brand new cars in 2012.

The firm has already confirmed that it shifted 51,048 cars in January and February, which is up 1.3 per cent, while its sales have risen 11.9 per cent outside of its Spanish home market. 

Still, SEAT lost €311million in 2010, which is one of the reasons that parent firm VW shifted production of Audi’s new Q3 SUV to SEAT’s factory in Martorell, near Barcelona, to make use of its ample spare capacity of 500,000 cars per year.

But SEAT’s Welsh boss James Muir is confident that the firm’s upward trend will continue. Speaking to top trade publication Automotive News Europe, he confirmed that 2012 will see SEAT launch four new cars:

"We will launch four new cars: the new Leon, a totally new entry-level model, a four-door sedan and a major Ibiza facelift."

That means more jobs too, with SEAT and the Catalan government ensuring that 1,200 new posts are created, both to build the new Audi model and SEAT’s new cars.

As well as its new models, SEAT is looking East, and will exhibit at next month’s Shanghai Auto Show ahead of launching the brand in China in 2012. 

It’s likely that the new sedan Muir talks of is aimed at the Chinese market, along with VW’s new Jetta and Audi’s new A3 saloon, while the brand also hopes to sell high-spec Ibiza and Leon Cupra models in China too. 

The entry-level model will effectively be the successor to the Arosa, and will be SEAT’s version of the VW Up. 

Thanks to Audi’s investment in Martorell, SEAT will also add a production version of the IBX crossover in 2013, which is the year that the firm hopes to return to profit, taking its range to seven models.

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One look at SEAT's current line up explains why Volkswagen's Mister Piech is eager to get his hands on the Alfa Romeo brand.

In the past the VW CEO initially aimed at positioning SEAT in the marketplace as Alfa eaters.
By now it must be clear that this was all wishful thinking.

@ takata
Are you sure about that? In the UK at least SEAT is outselling Alfa Romeo by quite some margin. The 2010 SMMT figures are 32,935 for SEAT and 8,834 for Alfa.

Fair enough J400uk.
SEAT may be outselling Alfa Romeo in the UK but fact is that the brand has so far not managed to become a sort of Spanish Alfa Romeo.

Otherwise Piech would not be keen to add this famous Italian marque to the already crowded VAG brand portfolio
Even if it would only be for reasons of Alfa Romeo being a more prestigious name than SEAT.
Piech more or less seems to have admitted this.

But sales figures do not always translate into profitability as is the case with SEAT.
And the same applies to Alfa Romeo for that matter.
FIAT's Marchionne like VW's Winterkorn with SEAT, has his work cut out for him in sorting Alfa Romeo.

If VW's vision was for SEAT to be the VW Groups Sporting arm, why did it lumber the manufacturer with so many MPVs. First we had the Sharan-based Alhambra, then on a more positive note the Altea, which actually looked quite sporting for a small people carrier. Things then went off the rails when the Toledo saloon was replaced by an awkward looking version of the Altea with a re-worked rear end. To cap it all, the Altea XL came along with more boot space but not the seven seats it should have had. This meant SEAT had three, yes three, 5-seater people carriers all competing in the same marketplace - bonkers! Now the Toledo has been replaced by an Audi cast-off in the name of Exeo and despite SEATS tweaks still looks like the old A4 that it is. If it wasn't for the smart looking Ibiza and handsome Leon keeping the brand afloat, SEAT would aleady be finished. The brand needs a proper coupe and a roadster as well as the obligatory SUV. There have been more than enough SEAT concepts over the years which have shown much promise and been widely acclaimed but which have failed to materialise. I for one would be happier placing my faith in a revitalised SEAT model (i.e. the new Leon) than the Alfa Romeo (e.g. Guilietta) I have always promised myself.

SEAT have been up and down in the past 10 years, the MK1 Leon, Toledo and MK4 Ibiza were a recent high. Then the MKII Leon and Toledo came and things stated to tail off. Toledo was ugly Leon had a great exteror but poor interior. FL Leon has addressed the interior to a point along with VAG's range of excellent petrol and diesels. MK5 Ibiza is good although interior cold be better. New Alhambra is very good and Exeo competent and well made, good for the money with decent engines.

It's SEAT's factory that is the biggest issue in that it has never run at full capacity so operates at a lose and so does SEAT. Q3 is a good thing to aid SEAT. Few people realise that the likes of the Q3, A1 were all to quite a great extent developed at Martorell.

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