Big investment in Seat brand brings revamped Ibiza and Arona

Seat Ibiza and Arona facelift preview 3

Future of Seat takes shape as Spanish brand commits to keeping its two smallest cars on sale

Seat boss Wayne Griffiths says the brand “is in great health”, with its entire model line-up set to be refreshed in the near-future – and it is continuing to investigate options for a future entry-level electric car.

In recent years, the Barcelona firm has put its focus on performance-oriented sibling brand Cupra, which has led to reports that the Seat brand could ultimately be retired.

But speaking at Seat SA’s annual media conference, Griffiths insisted that the brand still has a key role to play. “For us, it was always clear that the brand was not going to disappear,” he said. “Why would you let a brand that has existed for 70 years disappear? The question is: when is the right time to do more?”

Griffiths said that the recent focus on Cupra was necessary to improve the company’s margins and profitability, and that the ability to increase Seat’s volumes was impacted in recent years by the semiconductor shortage.

But the firm sold around 290,000 Seat models last year, a rise of 24% year on year. Griffiths added: “The message is clear: the Seat brand is in great health and will continue to play a key role in meeting our profitable growth in the future.”

He said that it is “important to get the Seat brand back where it belongs”, which will involve “new investments in the brand and its models”.

The Seat Leon will receive a facelift this year, with revamped versions of the Seat Arona crossover – the brand’s best-seller – and Seat Ibiza hatch due to follow in 2025. The firm gave a first look at the styling of those models in a video during the media conference. The Ateca will also be “upgraded and have its life extended” in the future.

Griffiths hinted that the updated models will receive revised plug-in hybrid and fuel-efficient powertrains, which will doubtless match those of other recently updated Volkswagen Group models that sit on the MQB platform.

Griffiths added that the firm is “looking at what we can deliver in the electric world under the Seat brand”, adding that “the best is still to come”. While he said no decisions have been made, he did hint that the new entry-level platform being developed by Volkswagen for the sub-£20,000 ‘ID 1’ could be an option.

Asked about that project, Griffiths said: “The project that the Volkswagen brand is working on is still in the first phase and it doesn’t make sense for all brands at once to go straight into this segment, so the group has set a priority for Volkswagen – but for me it remains a clear objective that we get an entry model for Seat.

“Seat as a brand is in an ideal position to contribute to the group by attracting the youngest customers. We’ve always been the entry gate into the VW Group. So for me it’s natural that in the future there will be an entry-model electric car for Seat.

“It’s just going back to the question when is the right time with the right platform with the right business case behind it that it makes sense for us.”

Source: Autocar

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