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VW pushes ailing Seat to China

2011-03-16 13:47

ALBATROSS: Volkswagen AG may be recording record sales, but Spanish brand Seat continues to underperform in relation to many of its stable mates.

Volkswagen must be hoping the same fate its budget Seat brand suffered in South Africa will not be repeated in China as the company introduces the Spanish brand there.

VW plans to introduce its Seat brand in China, where it already sells VW, Audi, Skoda and Lamborghini products. Seat will also have a stand at the 2011 Shanghai auto show from April 20-28.

According to Bloomberg, VW will export Seats to China before opening an assembly plant in Guangdong province in 2013 to be run by joint-venture partner China FAW Group.

ANGRY FANS

Much depends on a successful launch of the Seat brand in China. The brand has struggled elsewhere and only recorded a 0.8% increase in sales in 2010. Automotive News reported the brand could be discontinued by 2015 if it fails to turn a profit.

Seat entered the SA market in 2006 but was withdrawn just more than two years later in 2008 after 2600 units were sold - much to the anger of brand fans.

At the time, the company said: "Current and expected circumstances make the ongoing importation of a niche brand in the South African market non-viable."
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