Tremendous confusion has been generated around SEAT after the statements by Thomas Schäfer, CEO of Volkswagen. Last Monday, during the 2023 Munich Motor Show, the manager said that the future of the Spanish brand was aimed at focusing its efforts solely on Cupra. Now, however, he has qualified his words. The manufacturer does not say goodbye, but it does transform.
“We are fulfilling our vision: state-of-the-art technology from the most desired brands at competitive prices. SEAT and CUPRA embody those values. Despite reports in some media, SEAT is stronger than ever“, Schäfer began in a statement shared through LinkedIn.
In fact, he took advantage of his intervention to share some data that supports the permanence of the manufacturer. “Demand for SEAT remains at very high levels and sales, so far this year, have grown by 18%, reaching close to 200,000 cars sold. Customer orders for the main SEAT models, Ibiza , Arona and León, are at record levels,” he added.
SEAT is heading to a stage of transformation
The head of Volkswagen hinted, now yes, that SEAT is transforming itself to gain presence in the “new forms of mobility”. Among them, the shared use of vehicles (Car Sharing), subscription services and micromobility.
He also announced that the three aforementioned models will receive updates soon. Either with “super-efficient” internal combustion engines, or electrified variants. He gave the Leon as an example, which already has an e-Hybrid version on the market.
To reinforce the promise that SEAT is not going anywhere, he added that the intention of the Volkswagen Group is to transform the manufacturer’s facilities in the Zona Franca (Barcelona).
In relation to Cupra, recognized that it is growing at an outstanding rate, which is why it is receiving more attention from the parent company. “In 5 years, CUPRA has sold an incredible 400,000 cars, and it continues to grow exponentially. Around 150,000 Cupras have already been delivered around the world so far this year, a year-on-year growth of 60%. This makes it one of the fastest growing car brands in Europe,” he said.
Schäfer has messed it up
Of course, Schäfer’s statement follows the line of the one that SEAT transmitted to hypertextual a couple of days ago.
“Inaccurate information has appeared that the Volkswagen Group will stop producing cars under the SEAT brand. In fact, the SEAT brand is stronger than ever.”
They even included the same growth data and the idea of updating the Ibiza, Arona and León “to continue offering low-consumption plug-in hybrid cars until the end of the combustion cycle.”
What’s going on here? Well, “simply” the CEO of Volkswagen has messed it up in the interview in Germany. He chose his words poorly and caused a communication crisis that shook SEAT. For now, the brand will stay with us for a longer time, but venturing into other business models that will surely become, sooner or later, its greatest support.