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.

With three concept vehicles serving as inspiration, the IBE, IBL, and IBX, it comes as no surprise that the SEAT Leon is a vehicle that shows high emotion. Just a quick look and it immediately shows a fine figure and in fact, looks beautiful no matter where you look. With an athletic visual appeal, there is no doubt the Lean will offer excitement while on the road.

Customers will definitely notice its excellent proportions. The reason for this is that the passenger cell’s visual weight has been moved just a bit over the rear wheels. Further, the change from the front wing going to the passenger cell can be described as rather smooth. Since every surface of the vehicle has that powerful sculptural charm to it, it helps strengthen the result when light interacts with shade and thus enhances the 3D effect.

Looked at from its side, the surfaces have clearly been modelled precisely and perfectly honed. The interrupted and characteristic “Línea Dinámica” is still there and extends all the way to the back and above the wheel arches. It gives the impression of a well-trained muscle that is straining while experiencing tension. Other defining features of this new model include the short third window that goes up to the rear and the C-pillar in a trapezoid shape.

However, for SEAT, the new Leon is all about the development of its very design DNA which is the implementation of tight surfaces and clear lines in order to display precision and vitality. The quality, as well as the standards, that have been applied to the Leon during the design and even the development can be seen through the tiniest of details.

Note that these are standards that only a few automakers have even managed to achieve. Without question, the core values of the brand can be seen in this vehicle which is a precision build quality combined with a minimalistic and clear design.

That being said, the brand made sure that its new logo would be displayed prominently. As such, it can be seen on the front section and the rear end. It is even placed on the wheels and on the inside on the steering wheel.

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