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Altea investment bites into SEAT 2003 profits

SEAT ended 2003 with profits of €135 million, down from €202m in 2002 after €582m was invested last year in the new Altea model to be launched at Geneva next month. <>p>€400 million was invested in adapting lines at SEAT's factory in Martorell to build the Altea, and a further €182 million went into R&D. The Altea is the first of a new family of SEAT models in preparation.

460,040 SEAT vehicles were built last year at Martorell and other Volkswagen Group manufacturing plants: an increase of 2% on the previous year, notwithstanding the cessation of Inca van production in June.

2003 sales were virtually static at 460,151 units, resulting in an increased market share for SEAT in a shrinking European market. In the UK and Germany sales increased by 17.5 and 14.2 per cent respectively, though SEAT lost share in its domestic Spanish market. Net income for the brand totalled €5,523 million.

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