Seat relies on Leon compact 5-door hatchback to boost overseas sales

Article by Anita Panait, on July 27, 2012

In an effort to attract more customers this year, Spanish carmaker Seat SA rolled out a score of modified and refreshed models. At the start of 2012, Seat rolled out the Mii minicar from parent Volkswagen Group's New Small Family range that also includes the VW Up. At the end of June, Seat introduced the new Toledo compact sedan, and followed it up a few weeks later with the unveiling of the new Leon compact five-door hatchback.

The Leon, unlike the Toledo, is underpinned by the VW Group's new Modular Transverse Matrix architecture, which goes by the German acronym MQB for Modularer Querbaukasten. All of VW’s future cars powered by transverse-mounted engine will be sitting on the MQB platform.

As a matter of fact, the VW Group seeks to build 40 models using the MQB platform by 2018, for a total of around 6 million vehicles. Although the Leon (4260mm) is much shorter than the Toledo (4480mm), it carries a higher starting price of around EUR15,000, which is around EUR2,000 more expensive that its compact sedan sibling. Its higher tag is attributed to the fact that the Leon is more upscale than the Toledo. 

A source privy to VW told Automotive News Europe that the Leon uses A-grade components from VW while the Toledo derives directly from the Skoda Rapide, making it more suited to Brazil, Russia, India and China and other less sophisticated markets.

Seat considers the Leon as a vital part of its plans to increase sales outside Spain, which is currently suffering from the European debt crisis. According to data from the ANFAC, new-car sales in Spain dropped 8.2 percent to 406,070 units in the first six months of 2012. The Spanish carmakers association expects full-year new car sales to fall to about 750,000 units.

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