Seat has commenced production of its new Leon hatchback at its Martorell plant in Spain. The new Leon hatchback is the result of EUR800 million (£650 million) in total investments, particularly in vehicle research and development, and production facilities. Seat expects the new five-door Leon hatchback, unveiled at last month’s Paris Motor Show, to spearhead its international expansion and to increase output at the Martorell plant, where it will be produced alongside the Ibiza, Altea, and Exeo and together with the Audi Q3. The model is the firstborn of the new Leon model family, which by 2014 will include a sleek three-door version and a practical five-door estate. The approach adopted for the Leon mirrors the one employed for the hugely successful Ibiza range. The approach is expected to help the Leon become a key competitor in the compact segment in Europe, which accounts for 38% of total car sales.
The production of the Leon hatchback at the Martorell plant in Spain is expected to provide a big boost to the economy, as it ensures 1,600 jobs on the production line plus more than 6,000 throughout the supply chain. Seat expects that the introduction of the two new Leon body styles will provide new opportunities to create new jobs.
Dr. Andreas Tostmann, Seat Executive Vice President for Production, remarked that with the new Leon, the carmaker has increased productivity by 10% and became more flexible, thus ensuring optimization of production costs. He added that the EUR800 million spent for the new Leon consolidates Seat’s leadership position as Spain’s number one industrial investor in R&D. Tostmann quipped that the Leon and the Ibiza represent the very essence of Seat.