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November 2, 2005

EXCLUSIVE: SPAIN: Audi begins “intense” negotiations to shore up Seat

Audi and Volkswagen are engaged in crucial talks aimed at shoring up ailing Spanish brand Seat, which is facing renewed worker strikes at home after proposing a 10% wage cut to survive a sales slump.

Audi and Volkswagen are engaged in crucial talks aimed at shoring up ailing Spanish brand Seat, which is facing renewed worker strikes at home after proposing a 10% wage cut to survive a sales slump.

“There are intense talks right now to devise a new strategy for Seat,” a spokesman at Audi ’s German headquarters told just-auto. “We stand by Seat.”

The spokesman would not confirm Spanish reports that Audi could tighten its grip over Seat, absorbing its infrastructure to manage development, marketing and distribution more directly.

Seat’s new strategy is expected to be outlined within weeks.

Meanwhile, its Spanish unions have scheduled a 24-hour strike and demonstrations for next week in Barcelona to protest against proposed wage cuts, which are intended to reduce the cost of 1,400 excessive staff.

Workers previously launched a series of intermittent strikes on 27 October which paralysed production at Seat’s main Martorell plant.

A Seat spokeswoman said the company hopes to meet unions this week to reach a deal to avert the new strike.

“We have proposed a salary and wage reduction initiative planned under the collective wage agreement,” she said. “We believe in dialogue. We have told unions that time is of the essence and that we need to resolve this issue as soon as possible.”

Ivan Castano

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