Making the announcement at a UK press preview this week of the new Altea, Mark McKenna, Seat’s UK head of marketing, said: "Since the repositioning of Seat under the Audi Brand Group, the Altea was the first product to come out of the new group’s sport design technology ideals concept.
“In future we will have an extrovert image with cars of a sporting design. Up to 18 months ago we were known as the affordable brand. Now we are moving to producing products with sporting design and greater performance but we don’t want to loose what we are already known for".
McKenna added: " We started selling Seat cars in the UK in 1985 and by 1995 our annual sales had climbed steadily to 11,000 vehicles but from then until 2003 they climbed rapidly to 34,000 units. We do not plan to oversupply vehicles and damage residual values - ours are better than most of the main volume manufacturers and we don’t want to loose that. We are not a volume brand, we are not up-market and we want customers to come to us out of choice"
"We see Altea giving us incremental growth with 2,500 sales this year and 5,000 next and 60% of Altea sales will be for the variants costing under £14,000”, says McKenna.
McKenna also revealed that 95% of enquiries for their products came to them by the web.
Currently Seat has 130 UK dealers and this will increase to 135 once open points in London and Manchester are filled.
The Altea goes on sale in the UK from July 10. A £3 million marketing campaign, including television advertising, will be used to launch the new face of Seat to UK customers.
Altea prices start at £12,850 and rise through the eight-model range to £17,600. There is the option of 1.6 and 2.0-litre petrol and 1.9 and 2.0-litre diesel engines.