The Volkswagen-owned company, which saw sales rise from 29,000 units in 2002 to 35,000 units last year, is planning to hit 37,000 units by the end of this year. This will be achieved with the launch of new products including the Altea mini-MPV and the next Leon, due in 2005.
Plans for the learning centre are being drawn up with regional teams identifying the needs of dealers. Phase two begins after this nationwide assessment. All areas of a dealer's business will be covered and courses will include online programmes as well as traditional classroom based sessions.
The aim is to meet the increasing expectations of its widening customer base and to encourage staff loyalty and therefore retention, according to Seat UK director Kevin James. “Seat is changing, and our customers are changing too – they have different expectations we must meet.”
Dealers will not have to pay to have fully-trained people re-trained under the new scheme. “This is about helping our network not hindering it,” he says.