Volkswagen AG's Spanish-based Seat brand is aimed to appeal to young, urban customers in China. In early 2012, sporty, more expensive versions of Seat’s Leon and Ibiza models will go on sale in China.
But before that, the sporty models will be displayed at the Shanghai auto show later this month as part of a campaign to raise the awareness of the brand in the Chinese market.
Seat’s specialization is on compact cars that have a sporty image as well as performance. Seat anticipates that sales in the world’s biggest market will increase so much that the brand will be able to return to profitability.
Seat is also hoping that the high demand will enable it to increase the capacity at its underused factory in Martorell, near Barcelona. In 2010, about 335,000 cars were produced at the 500,000-capacity plant.
Seat says that it’s possible that in the long-term, it could soon establish local production for the market in China. IHS Global Insight said that initially, VW will import Seat models into China.
This will be followed by the launch of production at its new joint venture plant with FAW Group in Foshan located in southeast China's Guangdong province.
This factory is expected to be completed in 2013. Seat’s worldwide sales in 2010 totaled to 339,500 cars. Of this figure, 323,600 units were sold in Europe. Seat was able to sell 13,400 units in Mexico, and 2,500 units were bought in South America.
Seat’s cars are available in over 70 markets. So far, Seat has not proceeded with plans to offer models in Brazils. It is also not considering selling its models in the U.S.