The launch of Seat’s all-new Ibiza supermini and Arona baby SUV next year will drive profits and give the Spanish brand time to define its future, according to boss Luca de Meo. Both the Ibiza and the Arona, a Nissan Juke rival, will sit on the Volkswagen Group’s new MOB AO platform. The Ibiza is set to be the first car in the whole group to be launched on it next summer, with the Arona following by the year’s end. De Meo said: “It is a key opportunity for us, to have not just the latest platform but also the latest powertrains, dynamic tuning, infotainment -everything that comes with it. For a time, we will have the best car in this class from the group and possibly the segment. “It also means we will have three strong legs to stand on: the SUVs, the Ibiza and the Leon.
That’s a broad base that gives us opportunities to grow sales around the world.” With Seat posting profits for the first time in eight years even prior to the Ateca’s arrival this autumn, de Meo sees even greater sales success as the opportunity to develop a longer-term strategy for Seat. That strategy includes not just new vehicles but also new approaches driven by digital opportunities and disruption. “The most important thing is to show profitable numbers again. It is positive not just for us but dealers and analysts, too,” said de Meo. “Combined with the new models coming in the next three years, it should give us momentum, too, which buys us time to think what we do next. For years, we have been forced to be on a diet.
With profits, we can power forwards again and focus on what Seat means to the VW Group and to the market. “When you are our size, with less to lose and much to win, you can afford to position yourself as a front runner in areas that appeal to you and follow in other areas.
We can see that we have by far the youngest average age of buyers in the VW Group, for instance, which means we can be a gateway for group sales.
“I see a clear demand for making things easier to experience. All of the megabrands of the past 15 years have facilitated access – be it EasyJet, Netflix, Spotify or Google – and I can see some areas where this philosophy can benefit Seat. Making a simple, accessible proposition is a nice philosophy that I hope we can pursue.”