SEAT has begun production of the all-new Leon at its factory in Martorell, Spain, following an investment of around 800million Euro (£650million) in new facilities as well as vehicle research and development.
The newcomer will be built alongside the Ibiza, Altea and Exeo models, and helps to secure 1,600 jobs at Martorell and a further 6,000 in the supply chain. With the introduction of a new three-door bodystyle and an estate variant for the first time, SEAT believes it will be able to hire new staff in the future.
Dr. Andreas Tostmann, SEAT Executive Vice President for Production, said: “With the new Leon we have increased productivity by 10% and become more flexible, thus guaranteeing optimisation of production costs.”
The new Leon uses the same MQB platform as the all-new VW Golf and Audi A3, and is available with a choice of eight engines, including a flagship 181bhp 2.0 TDI and a 1.6-litre TDI with either 89bhp or 104bhp.
Turbo petrol options include a 1.2 TSI with 85bhp or 104bhp, a 120bhp 1.4 TSI and a 178bhp 1.8 TSI. A 138bhp 1.4 TSI with cylinder deactivation will also go on sale at a later date.
The five-door SEAT Leon costs from £15,670, with first UK deliveries in March 2013.