1 million units a year. That’s going to be the minimum volume necessary for car makers to survive, if you believe SEAT boss James Muir. His struggling brand sold just 320,000 cars last year, and their exposure is largely limited to economically ill countries in the sunny areas of Europe.
This would be a recipe for disaster for most car companies, but luckily, SEAT is part of Volkswagen. That doesn’t mean their survival is guaranteed, but it does help. SEAT is hoping that the new Leon C-segment hatch, as well as an upcoming MQB-based rival to the Nissan Qashqai, will help increase their overall volume. But it’s hardly a done deal.
In an interview with Autocar, Muir outlined the brand’s predicament
“We have to bring volume to the table as well as profits…in the short-term that means the investment we have received for the Leon family needs to translate into sales. Then every bit of investment we get thereafter needs to pay off. With that, we can shout louder within the Volkswagen Group to get more investment.”
With Volkswagen and Skoda crowding the low end of the marketplace, it’s tough to rationalize why Seat even needs to exist. While the brand has traded on sporty products like the Leon and Ibiza Cupra, the Qashqai rival, sold at an appealing price point could end up being the brand’s savior.