At this week’s UK press preview of the new Seat Altea Multi Sport Vehicle, or MSV as its importer calls it, the head of UK marketing, Mark McKenna, revealed that the new ‘face’ of the Altea will also be seen on upcoming new generation Toledo and Leon models.
He said: “Since the repositioning of the Seat brand under the Audi brand group, the Altea was the first product to come out of the new group’s sport design technology ideals concept.
“In future we will have an extrovert image with cars of a sporting design. Up to 18 months ago we were known as the affordable brand. Now we are moving to producing products with sporting design and greater performance but we don’t want to lose what we are already known for”.
McKenna added.” We started selling SEAT cars in the UK in 1985 and by 1995 our annual sales had climbed steadily to 11,000 vehicles but from then until 2003 they climbed rapidly to 34,000 units.
“We do not plan to oversupply vehicles and damage residual values – ours are better than most of the main volume manufacturers and we don’t want to lose that. We are not a volume brand, we are not up-market and we want customers to come to us out of choice.”
McKenna said the Altea is neither a mini-MPV (minivan) nor a hatchback as accepted today, but a bit of both.
“It creates a new sector in the market aimed at the family buyer around 25 years of age and with one to two children. Currently the average age of our customers is around 45 years old.
“We see the Altea giving us incremental growth with 2,500 sales this year and 5,000 next while 60% of Altea sales will be for the variants costing under £14,000” McKenna added.
He also revealed that 95% of enquiries for Seat products came to the UK importer via the internet.
Currently Seat has 130 UK dealers and this will increase to 135 once open points in London and Manchester are filled.
The Altea goes on sale in the UK from 10 July, priced from £12,850. A £3 million marketing campaign, including television advertising, will be used to launch the brand’s new face.
Launch engine options are 1.6 and 2.0-litre petrol and 1.9 and 2.0-litre diesel.