'The minnows are rising in the VW Group with SEAT and Skoda looking stronger than ever'

The VW Group brand hierarchy could be set for a shake-up as SEAT and Skoda increasingly challenge VW and Audi for sales

SEAT Opinion

SEAT hasn’t had the best of times in the past.  As well as struggling with a lack of identity within the Volkswagen Group, massive losses led to big question marks over the brand’s future.

Chatting to SEAT’s charismatic boss Luca de Meo at the launch of the impressive new Ibiza supermini, he revealed the state of affairs the company was in. “Five years ago we were losing 400 million Euro a year,” he told me, before smiling broadly to remind me “and we’ve just announced an operating profit of  143 million Euro for 2016”. That’s quite a turnaround.

New SEAT Formentor SUV on the way

De Meo’s vision for his brand is clear, especially how it sits in the VW Group. He told me: “We have the youngest customer base of any car company – we’re the brand for the next generation. Our role is to get people into the [VW Group] system. We need to make the gate as attractive as possible.”

With the latest batch of products like the Ateca SUV and new Ibiza, de Meo and his team are succeeding – and there’s more to come, with two new EVs, two more SUVs and something else that he promises will be “really special”. 

Of equal importance to de Meo is his brand’s standing in the Group – and he’s doing all he can to make sure his bosses take notice and continue to invest heavily, which they seem happy to do. That’s why the Ibiza has been chosen to debut the Group’s advanced new MQB A0 platform technology first.

Skoda is similarly poised to challenge VW and Audi for the headlines (and sales). As we revealed recently, Skoda’s EV ambitions are as big as anyone’s in the Group, with its Vision E set to lead the charge at the Shanghai Motor Show

One thing’s for sure, competition between VW, Audi, SEAT and Skoda is hotter than ever – and that’s good news for us all.

What do you think of the progress being made at SEAT and Skoda? Join the debate in the comments section below...

Recommended

'Factories are at a standstill because they can’t get the parts to finish cars'
Car manufacturing
Opinion

'Factories are at a standstill because they can’t get the parts to finish cars'

Steve Fowler points out the fresh issues facing global car manufacturing
9 Jun 2021
‘Our switch to electric will soon make driving manual cars a lost art'
Gearknob
Opinion

‘Our switch to electric will soon make driving manual cars a lost art'

Want to drive a manual car? You need to take your test in a manual car. So what happens once all driving-school cars are automatic EVs?
8 Jun 2021
'Joe Biden is now America's most important auto industry dude'
Ford F150 Joe Biden
Opinion

'Joe Biden is now America's most important auto industry dude'

Mike Rutherford thinks Joe Biden deserves praise for his hands-on approach to the American car industry
30 May 2021
'This really is a great time to buy a new car'
Opinion dealership
Opinion

'This really is a great time to buy a new car'

Steve Fowler points out some great new car deals to be had in post-lockdown
14 Apr 2021

Most Popular

New 2021 Vauxhall Astra teased for the first time
Vauxhall Astra teaser 1
Vauxhall Astra

New 2021 Vauxhall Astra teased for the first time

The new Vauxhall Astra will get electrified powertrains and a more premium image
8 Jun 2021
‘Our switch to electric will soon make driving manual cars a lost art'
Gearknob
Opinion

‘Our switch to electric will soon make driving manual cars a lost art'

Want to drive a manual car? You need to take your test in a manual car. So what happens once all driving-school cars are automatic EVs?
8 Jun 2021
New 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid launched with 1,006bhp
Tesla Model S facelift - front
Tesla Model S

New 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid launched with 1,006bhp

Range-topping version of the Tesla Model S officially unveiled, with a sprint time of 0-60mph in less than two seconds
10 Jun 2021
'The hydrogen underdog disruptor is back in town'
Toyota Mirai opinion
Opinion

'The hydrogen underdog disruptor is back in town'

Mike Rutherford says hydrogen-powered cars could still be a frequent sight on UK roads
13 Jun 2021
New 2021 Volkswagen T7 Multivan replaces Caravelle
Volkswagen T7 Multivan - front
Volkswagen Caravelle

New 2021 Volkswagen T7 Multivan replaces Caravelle

The Volkswagen T7 Multivan MPV switches to the MQB platform and adds plug-in hybrid technology
10 Jun 2021
'Factories are at a standstill because they can’t get the parts to finish cars'
Car manufacturing
Opinion

'Factories are at a standstill because they can’t get the parts to finish cars'

Steve Fowler points out the fresh issues facing global car manufacturing
9 Jun 2021
Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport vs Cupra Leon 300
Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport vs Cupra Leon 300
Car group tests

Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport vs Cupra Leon 300

The capable Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport goes up against its new Cupra Leon 300 sibling in this hot hatch battle
12 Jun 2021
New 2021 Lexus NX arrives with firm’s first plug-in hybrid drivetrain
Lexus NX - front action
Lexus NX SUV

New 2021 Lexus NX arrives with firm’s first plug-in hybrid drivetrain

The new Lexus NX 350h features a standard hybrid set-up, while the NX 450h+ gets a plug-in hybrid powertrain capable of 40 miles of pure electric powe…
12 Jun 2021
LEC launches affordable EV conversion for classic Mini
LEC MINI Electric
MINI

LEC launches affordable EV conversion for classic Mini

The conversion sees the Mini’s A-Series engine replaced with a dinky electric motor and a 20kWh battery for a range of 70 miles in the city
10 Jun 2021
Audi updates line-up for 2022 with new tech and trim features
Audi S5
Audi

Audi updates line-up for 2022 with new tech and trim features

Almost every car in Audi’s line-up has received a tweak, with major updates including Amazon Alexa integration and a Sonos stereo
11 Jun 2021
New Skoda Enyaq iV 2021 review
Skoda Enyaq iV 80 Sportline - front
Skoda Enyaq

New Skoda Enyaq iV 2021 review

The new Skoda Enyaq iV is the Czech firm’s first bespoke electric car and we've tested the full range on UK roads
10 Jun 2021
'GM taking over Honda would be a disaster'
Honda opinion
Opinion

'GM taking over Honda would be a disaster'

Mike Rutherford is worried about Honda's future, despite its recent motorsport success
6 Jun 2021
Mustang Mach-E: your next company car?
A red Ford Mustang Mach-E parked
Advertisement Feature

Mustang Mach-E: your next company car?

Thinking of getting a new company car? Here’s why you should consider putting the Mustang Mach-E on your shortlist
11 Jun 2021
New Volkswagen T-Cross Black Edition 2021 review
Volkswagen T-Cross Black Edition - front
Volkswagen T-Cross

New Volkswagen T-Cross Black Edition 2021 review

The small Volkswagen T-Cross SUV turns on the style in new Black Edition trim
11 Jun 2021