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Luca de Meo: 'Seat brand needs to find its purpose'

Luca de Meo

The executive board at Seat has been tasked with defining the ‘purpose’ of the Barcelona-based Volkswagen Group brand.

Luca de Meo, president of Seat, revealed during a meeting with AM at its Martorell headquarters this week that now the carmaker is back in profit after six years of losses his senior team has a new strategic project.

He said: “To be completely blunt, a completely compelling answer to the question ‘what is the purpose of Seat in the group and in the market’ has not yet been found. That’s exactly what we are working on. We’re convinced that now it’s time to give 100% to finding the answer.”

He suggested Seat will be able to share its answers within a year’s time. Bosses at Volkswagen Group in Germany want the car brand to “find our way”, he added.

“If you ask people why they buy Seat they will say because it’s a Volkswagen but cheaper and with a more sporty design.” He said this is not a sufficient proposition to build the Seat brand upon, because similar statements could also apply to other carmakers.

“This is exactly the work that needs to be done, to find that distinctive character, distinctive proposition,and  throughout the line from product through service and communications, so that we can get out of the shadow of other bigger brands, and not just within the group.”

He said one of the secrets of success of Volkswagen Group has been to leverage as much as possible each one of the brands without creating “pizza Quattro staggionne”, and mixing everything up.

5 Seat Ateca 2016

His only hint to the brand’s definition was that as a southern European brand, people expect Seat to be warm, to express the spirit of Barcelona.

In 2015 Seat achieved a 6m euro profit, its first after six years of loss-making. Global revenues reached 8.3bn euros, its highest in history, and vehicle sales passed the 400,000 unit mark.

De Meo told AM that Seat expects to be generating sufficient earnings within two years to be self-financing.

The Seat UK dealer network gains its first SUV, the Ateca (pictures above), this summer, which will be followed in 2017 by a new Ibiza, which will be the first car across VW Group based on its new MQB A0 platform.

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