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Leon aims for top spot

Seat is planning to increase awareness of its new brand identity in the UK as it prepares for the launch of the second generation Leon in September.

The Volkswagen Golf-based five-door hatchback will be the third model in the Spanish manufacturer’s radical new-look line-up, following the launch of Altea and Toledo.

“Our communications will be focused on better positioning of Seat in the UK. Brand awareness is one of the issues we need to tackle,” says Kevin James, director of Seat UK. “It’s about getting people into the showrooms and to do that we need more consistent communications.”

James says Seat is aiming for younger buyers who want performance and handling, but also quality and reliability.

“The Leon is a perfect example of this,” he says. “We use the platform from the VW Golf but we are able to enhance it. We’ve been labelled the Alfa Romeo of Spain before and that’s still the case. We now have three cars that personify the brand position in terms of design and sportiness.”

In the UK, Seat is planning to increase its 124-strong dealer network by a further eight or nine sites with key open points in London and Manchester. It says it is happy to be part of a multi-franchise set-up.

Leon retail prices are expected to start at about £11,500. Derived from the Salsa concept first shown in 2000, Leon will be available with four engines – two petrol, a 1.6-litre and a 2.0-litre FSI; and two turbodiesels – a 1.9-litre and a 2.0-litre TDI.

Performance Cupra and FR versions, which account for 40% of current Leon sales, will follow soon after the September launch.

Seat is hoping Leon will become its best selling model, overtaking Ibiza which sells about 17,500 units a year. AM understands a convertible version could join the model line-up within a year.

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