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Seat boss won't say when car brand will be profitable

Seat's new boss Jürgen Stackmann - four months into his Barcelona-based job - is not expecting any change of direction in the path set by his predecessor James Muir who, he said, "put us on a good course and laid a great foundation".

The car company made a €155million loss last year and cost will be a major focus as will growing beyond the 310,000 global sales of last year. "I won't speculate when we will be back in the black, but we're working hard on it," he said.

"We're at a 1% market share in most countries in Europe so there is plenty of scope to grow," he said. And that growth will come mostly from Europe and the Mediterranean countries.

"Algeria is now our seventh biggest market and we are doing well in Turkey and Israel," he said, adding that sales in Germany this year are up 26% and in the UK up 15.6%.

Seat is heavily reliant on Europe which accounts for eight in every 10 sales. "We're making good progress in Europe with sales up 9.4% in a market down 6%," he said.

But the company has been too heavily reliant on Ibiza for its sales and his push now will be on Leon hatchback and the Leon ST estate car, launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show last week.

"We must build on Leon sales and the ST will open the fleet market for the first time - Seat just isn't on fleet buying lists," he said.

It's also important for Seat to remain mainstream and not be seen as a niche brand, he said. "Our average customer is 10 years younger than Skoda's which puts us in a good place."

The problem is that in too many countries, the Ibiza supermini is Seat. "We want it to be both Ibiza and Leon," he said.



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