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SEAT CEO shows "great optimism" for Catalan plant after Volkswagen's €4.2 billion investment in Spain

SEAT President, Jürgen Stackmann, has shown "great optimism" for the future competitiveness of the company's plant in Martorell (Greater Barcelona). In early May, the Volkswagen group, to which SEAT belongs, announced it will invest €4.2 billion in two of its factories, those in Catalonia and Navarra, over the next four years. The investment will be used to upgrade the existing facilities and increase competitiveness, in order to assemble a greater number of models. However, it was not disclosed how this billionaire investment will be split among the two factories. During a conference held on Wednesday in Barcelona, Stackmann did not say how much of this investment would go toward the Catalan plant. The SEAT president said the company is changing its focus toward a more mature, adult market across Europe in order to cement the future success of the carmaker.

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03 June 2015 10:32 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).– SEAT President Jürgen Stackmann has shown "great optimism" for the future competitiveness of the company's plant in Martorell (Greater Barcelona). In early May, the Volkswagen group, to which SEAT belongs, announced it will invest €4.2 billion in two of its factories in Spain, those in Catalonia and Navarra, over the next four years. The investment will be used to upgrade the existing facilities and increase competitiveness, in order to assemble a greater number of models. However, it was not disclosed how this billionaire investment will be split among the two factories. During a conference organised on Wednesday in Barcelona by PWC and the newspaper 'La Vanguardia,' Stackmann did not say how much of this investment would go toward the Catalan plant, but said the brand "works on the future, and this will bring investments." He also added he has "aggressive growth plans" As evidence of this progress, the SEAT President called attention to the company's 9% sales growth from January to April this year. Last year the Martorell plant enjoyed a 13.5% bump in production over 2013 figures and recorded a 12-year high in productivity.


The firm's President said SEAT is currently a mix of Spanish "passion" and German "perfectionism." Stackmann said the Spanish economy should be "proud" of its automobile production since "only the Volkswagen group's centres in Martorell and Navarra surpass the total production done in countries like Italy."

Stackmann attributes a portion of this recent success to the growing popularity of SEAT´s León model. In 2014, León sales overtook the company's previous bestseller, the Ibiza model. Seat sold 154,100 León cars and 150,000 Ibiza cars last year. "The León has changed the brand completely. It is a car for most people and it has become the formula to replicate for the rest of the SEAT range," Stackmann held.

Although the León and the Ibiza models were the most successful in terms of sales, SEAT's future focus will be on a different type of market. Stackmann said the company "does not deny the past," but rather highlighted that SEAT has succeeded in changing the image of the brand by catering to a more mature audience - Stackmann pointed out that the average age of consumers in Europe is 52 years.

The SEAT President said this recent brand innovation has allowed the company to create an image that lets it sell its models to a market with greater buying power. "We have concentrated in the past on smaller cars and younger people, with little money and little brand loyalty. We have had to change all that and focus on bigger cars and a more adult audience," Stackmann said.

The SEAT President also recalled the company's history and said the car manufacturer has a "very strong record" among the Spanish market to profit from, as nearly every family has had a SEAT at some point. However, Stackmann said the company's focus is still primarily European. "We are a European brand, and we are focusing on Europe, a fantastic region for this brand's opportunities," he concluded. Stackmann pointed out SEAT's growth in a large market like Germany, which accounts for 22% of the brand's exports, and recalled that 83% of the brand's sales come from outside of Spain.

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  • Seat's President, Jürgen Stackmann, on Wednesday (by ACN)

  • Seat's President, Jürgen Stackmann, on Wednesday (by ACN)