Opinion

“The new VW Group is letting its other brands shine”

SEAT’s position as a technology leader wouldn’t have happened under previous VW management, says Steve Fowler

SEAT opinion header

A few years ago I had a chance to put one question to Ferdinand Piech, then chairman of the Volkswagen Group Supervisory board. I asked him what the best car in the world was. With everything from the Skoda Citigo to the Bugatti Chiron to choose from in his group, he picked the Volkswagen Golf.

That gave a real insight to the group; the Volkswagen brand, it seemed, always had to shine brightest. It also explained why a Skoda, for example, could never quite match a Volkswagen when it came down to small but important things like quality of switchgear.

Latest news from Geneva Motor Show

Now, the people at the top of the group have changed, along with its outlook. Which is why SEAT is leading the group’s research and development into connectivity and micro mobility – meaning journeys less than six miles long, which apparently make up 60 per cent of all trips.

SEAT’s new position as the group’s tech leader was highlighted at this year’s Mobile World Congress, held last week in Barcelona, the brand’s home city, where I caught up with its charismatic boss Luca de Meo.

As well as launching the equally charismatic SEAT Minimo two-seater urban runaround, de Meo told me how SEAT will be the second brand in the group to use the new all-electric MEB platform with the el-Born unveiled at this week’s Geneva Motor Show. “We’re no longer late followers,” he said. “And when we get the ingredients we cook very well.”

De Meo used MWC to announce partnerships with IBM and Telefonica to use artificial intelligence to advise on the best transport solutions for you, with super-fast 5G to handle the greater connectivity needs. “Connectivity is our thing,” de Meo explained. “It’s going to be like the move from the iPod to the iPhone.”

Who’d have thought humble SEAT would become a technology leader? That might not have happened in a Volkswagen under previous management.

What do you think of SEAT's position within the VW Group? Let us know your thoughts in the comments...

Recommended

SEAT appoints Wayne Griffths as new boss
SEAT

SEAT appoints Wayne Griffths as new boss

The current Cupra boss will take over as SEAT president on 1 October 
23 Sep 2020
SEAT launches three new electric scooters
SEAT

SEAT launches three new electric scooters

SEAT’s offerings include an all-electric moped and a pair of electric scooters – all of which are designed for urban travel
16 Jun 2020
SEAT and Skoda dealers give virtual tours of cars from their driveways
News

SEAT and Skoda dealers give virtual tours of cars from their driveways

Customers can watch livestreams where product experts from SEAT and Skoda dealers answer their questions
14 Apr 2020
VW emissions scandal: VW installed ‘defeat devices’ in thousands of cars, High Court finds
VW Emissions scandal update 2
Volkswagen

VW emissions scandal: VW installed ‘defeat devices’ in thousands of cars, High Court finds

The UK’s High Court has ruled that VW installed devices to cheat emissions tests in thousands of its cars
6 Apr 2020

Most Popular

New 2021 BMW M3 launched with huge grille and 503bhp
BMW 3 Series M3 Coupe

New 2021 BMW M3 launched with huge grille and 503bhp

The new sixth-generation BMW M3 Competition saloon gets a 503bhp straight-six engine and four-wheel-drive
22 Sep 2020
New 2020 Volkswagen ID.4 electric SUV revealed with up to 323 miles of range
Volkswagen ID.4

New 2020 Volkswagen ID.4 electric SUV revealed with up to 323 miles of range

The new Tiguan-sized Volkswagen ID.4 electric SUV becomes VW’s second ID. model, rivalling the Tesla Model Y
23 Sep 2020
New Range Rover Velar PHEV launched with 33-mile electric range
Land Rover Range Rover Velar

New Range Rover Velar PHEV launched with 33-mile electric range

Land Rover has given the Range Rover Velar an update, with a new plug-in hybrid powertrain and an improved infotainment system
23 Sep 2020