Thanks in part to the ongoing sales surge in the Spanish passenger vehicle market, the Volkswagen Group's SEAT division has just reported its best first six calendar months since 2008.

The brand ended the first half of 2014 with 200,200 vehicles delivered, 9.9% more than in the first half of 2013 (182,200). The León range continues to be one of the key factors in SEAT's new-found success. Sales were up by 62.3% in H1, to 78,600 vehicles, 30,200 more than for the first half of 2013 (48,400). Some of that success is of course down to the launch of additional body styles and variants, with the ST (estate/wagon) contributing 21,200 units. Perhaps surprisingly, the Alhambra which is just shy of its fourth birthday and expected to be facelifted by year-end, is one of the most improved models so far this year. Sales of this D segment MPV are up 19.4% (total: 11,400 units; 9,500 in 2013).

“Volumes are still low, but the European market is already showing signs of recovery. In this context our sales are once again growing above the competition average. The Leon is a success and will enable us to maintain this growth momentum”, SEAT President Jürgen Stackmann notes. 

Andreas Offermann, vice president for Sales and Marketing, adds “The addition to the range of the León Cupra and the ST 4Drive, and the X-Perience over the next few months, enhance the prospects of this model, and are completed by the launches of the special version of the 30th anniversary Ibiza and the Mii by Mango”. 

Deliveries rose by 10.5% in Western Europe for the first half of the year (158,300; 143,300 in 2013) and gave SEAT a claimed market share of 2.5% (2013: 2.4%). In Germany the company sold 42,300 vehicles (2013: 38,200), a 10.9% increase, consolidating its position in the top ten. SEAT also saw double-digit sales improvements in Spain (+13.3%; total: 39,300 units; 34,600 in 2013), Britain, +17.4%, (total 26,800 vehicles; 22,900 in 2013) and Italy, +14.2% (total: 6,600; 5,800 in 2013). In the Portuguese market, sales surged by 113.0% (total: 3,700; 1,800 in 2013).  

Deliveries to Eastern European countries rose by 78.2% in the first half of 2014, reaching a total of 12,900 units (2013: 7,300). In the Czech Republic, the brand’s main market in the area, with a total number of 3,900 vehicles delivered (2013: 1,900), sales doubled (+109.8%).

The brand's top market outside Europe is Mexico (10,300 units), followed by Algeria (8,400), where last week SEAT officially opened its showcase dealership in the outskirts of Algiers. Meanwhile, in Turkey, 3,900 vehicles were delivered in the year to the end of June and in Israel, the sales total was 3,200 units. 

Martorell, the production plant where the majority of SEAT vehicles (and Europe's Audi Q3) are built, closed the first six months of the year with production up by 11.1% compared to the same period of the previous year. With a total of 239,100 units built, this is almost 24,000 more than in 2013, when the plant manufactured 215,200 vehicles.

While the Spanish market is now out of crisis mode - sales were up 24% in June and 19% for the year to date - SEAT has lost its long-time position as number one there. Registrations as at the end of June totalled 38,965 (35,060 for H1, 2013), but those for Volkswagen reached 42,996 (33,853) during the same period. Opel, meanwhile, is catching SEAT, its sales having reached 38,023 (31,791) in H1. These three brands remain well clear of Peugeot, Renault, Ford, Citroën, Audi, Dacia and Fiat. Dacia is the fastest rising brand of 2014 (in Spain): its registrations are up by 63.3%.