SEAT Announces First Profit Since 2008, Subcompact SUV Production in 2017

SEAT Announces First Profit Since 2008, Subcompact SUV Production in 2017 1 photo
Photo: SEAT
It's no secret that SEAT has always been the malnourished child of the Volkswagen group, posting sales well below even those of Skoda. However, the more family-friendly cars it's making have paid off, as the company announced its first profits since 2008.
The Spanish automaker closed 2015 with 6 million euros of profit after tax, compared to 66 million lost in 2014. It's a small result, but considering the Ateca will be introduced this year, we are confident 2016 will be even better.

So, where does the profit come from? Well, last year's operations of 8.3 billion euros mean revenue is twice as high as in 2009. But while they are selling more cars, earnings per vehicle sold have also increased 3.5%.

The range of vehicles cash-strapped SEAT offers is tiny compared to other automakers. There's just one sedan and no SUVs until the Ateca hits showrooms later this year. Thus, the Ibiza supermini and Leon range of compacts are the bread earners.

Of the just over 400,000 cars they sold, 160,900 were Leons, a 4.4% increase over the 2014 result. The Ibiza accounts for 153,600 sales, up 2.4% despite being one of the oldest cars in the segment. The Alhambra also had a good year thanks to a cosmetic update and some MQB-based engines. Sales of this MPV model were up over 17%.

"SEAT's progress in 2015 was twofold - not only did we obtain a positive result for the first time since 2008, but we achieved it during a year of major challenges. We are implementing the right strategy that enables us to face the challenge of sustaining long-term profitability with optimism. We have a brilliant future ahead of us thanks to the launch of new products and the integration of new technologies in both the field of mobility as well as connectivity," pointed out Luca de Meo, President of the SEAT Executive Committee, during the presentation of the 2015 annual results.

If we were stockholders, that speech would make us jump for joy. But we're not. Instead, we're going to point out that the Line 1 at the Martorell factory has been adapted for MQB A0 platform vehicles. In 2017, the Spanish automaker will start production of a "smaller all-road crossover to be developed and manufactured in Martorell." That would be the Ibiza SUV we've been expecting.

The Tiguan-sized SEAT Ateca model will be made by Skoda at the Mlada Boleslav factory. However, Spain stands a good chance of becoming a hub for small car production. The decision to move the next-gen Audi A1 there in 2018 has already been announced. We are also expecting Volkswagen to announce that the production "Polo SUV" previewed by the T-Cross concept will be made at Martorell.
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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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