Skip advert
Advertisement
Opinion

‘Volkswagen doesn’t have a plan for SEAT’s future’

Steve Fowler catches-up with new VW boss Thomas Schäfer to get his views on the future plans for Skoda, Cupra and SEAT

Opinion - SEAT

Thomas Schäfer has only been in his job 100 days, but has given some clarity to the future of not only the Volkswagen brand, but also the other brands that fall under his remit: Skoda, Cupra and SEAT, although the latter is going to take a little more work.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Schäfer was a shock appointment as Chairman of the VW brand in a boardroom reshuffle earlier this year. He hadn’t even been running Skoda for two years before getting the call, following a longer stint in charge of the Group’s operations in South Africa.

But after spending some time with him this week, a couple of things are evident. Most importantly, he’s an inspiring leader with a clear vision that has been signed up to and communicated well. And that communication is two-way: he’s a listener and has reacted fast to customers’ views on his brand’s products.

His vision for the VW brand’s reboot is clear. It should be “a friendly brand that people like. The people’s brand that is close to the people. A brand that listens and offers exactly what our customers want – especially in the electric and digital age of mobility.”

But what about Skoda with models that have sat closer and closer to Volkswagen? “In the past, but not the future,” said Schäfer. He admitted that the brand had “moved up”, but says that it is “in the functional space.”

Cupra is the easiest to place, according to Schäfer. “It’s very sharp positioning: young audience, more rebellious, but not a volume player.”

But SEAT seems to be a bit of a problem child. “Cupra is the future of SEAT,” said Schäfer. “It doesn’t mean SEAT will cease to exist. We’re still working on the actual plan for SEAT; it’s okay until 2028 or 2029, so we don’t have to panic.”

Sometimes the most difficult decisions are the hardest, especially when it comes to getting rid of something that, deep down, you know you don’t really need.

Do you think SEAT has a future? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section...

Skip advert
Advertisement
Editor-in-chief

Steve Fowler has been editor-in-chief of Auto Express since 2011 and is responsible for all editorial content across the website and magazine. He has previously edited What Car?, Autocar and What Hi-Fi? and has been writing about cars for the best part of 30 years. 

Skip advert
Advertisement

Recommended

SEAT electric car: latest on VW Group’s entry-level EV
SEAT small EV exclusive image - front
News

SEAT electric car: latest on VW Group’s entry-level EV

A new all-electric SEAT could be in the works to keep the brand alive
26 Mar 2024
SEAT set for ‘new role’ in Volkswagen Group
SEAT Ibiza facelift - grille
News

SEAT set for ‘new role’ in Volkswagen Group

VW Group boss tells Auto Express “Cupra is the future of SEAT”
4 Sep 2023

Most Popular

New 2024 Vauxhall Frontera is a family-friendly SUV priced to worry rivals
Vauxhall Frontera - front
News

New 2024 Vauxhall Frontera is a family-friendly SUV priced to worry rivals

Vauxhall’s value-focused Frontera SUV will replace the Crossland with ICE and EV powertrains
9 Apr 2024
Car Deal of the Day: stylish Peugeot 2008 is a steal at an incredible £142 a month
Peugeot 2008 facelift - full front
News

Car Deal of the Day: stylish Peugeot 2008 is a steal at an incredible £142 a month

Buyers can snap up the Peugeot 2008 small SUV at a bargain price; it’s our Car Deal of the Day for 10 April at just £142 a month
10 Apr 2024
Alfa Romeo Milano 2024 preview: walkaround, specs and full details
Alfa Romeo Milano - front 3/4 static
News

Alfa Romeo Milano 2024 preview: walkaround, specs and full details

Alfa Romeo re-entered the small SUV sector with the new Milano offered in pure electric and petrol forms
12 Apr 2024