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Diesel boost for sportiest Ibiza

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The launch of the new Seat Ibiza in April marks the next step in the company's quest for a 2% UK market share by 2005, with retail buyers the target.

Kevin James, Seat director of sales, said: “Seat has the youngest age profile in Europe among its buyers and the UK is no different. The average age of B segment buyers is 44, but the average age of Ibiza buyers is 36, mostly male and mostly single.”

The new Ibiza, available in 3dr and 5dr with three trim levels, will have three petrol options – 64bhp 1.2, 75bhp 1.4 and a 100bhp 1.4. Surprisingly, given its sporty aspirations, the most powerful Ibiza is a turbo diesel – the new 130bhp, 1.9-litre TDi. It also comes with 64bhp 1.9 SDi and a 100bhp 1.9 TDi.

“As soon as anyone gets into this car they will realise haw fast and agile it is,” said Mr James of the 130bhp TDi. “It is a real sporty model but we want as many variants as possible and we will still sell a lot of 1.2 petrol models because we have such a young audience.”

Seat UK expects to sell up to 11,500 Ibizas in a full year, with retail customers dominating. Prices will be announced closer to launch.

Mr James is looking to increase the number of UK dealers from 127 to 140-145.

“The priority is to fill open points, including London, Oxford and Northampton,” he said. “We still have some black holes and these are becoming easier to fill as people see where the brand is going.”

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