A more confident Seat
23 October 2014
Seat's range will continue to grow, with a small SUV scheduled to appear within two years, likely teased by a concept car during 2015.
But before that comes a revision for the Ibiza supermini, due next year, with a focus on interior improvements. That car, McDonald says, will find a role in salary sacrifice and Government procurement channels, aided by a car that at first glance doesn't have a big fleet angle: the Mii by Mango.
A tie-up with Spanish fashion house Mango, the range-topper of the Mii city car range is designed to help make the car stand out from its almost identical VW Up and Skoda Citigo siblings launched at the same time as the Mii.
"The Mii struggled to differentiate from the other offerings - this will help differentiate it from the sister brands and get a good RV," says McDonald. "I see real opportunities with salary sacrifice - it won't be the biggest volume car, but it's important as Seat grows that we execute the entire portfolio."
He says the company will end up covering 80% of the true fleet marketplace in terms of sales once all the new product is launched, rather than a "niche one- or two-car marketplace". That will help the firm's growth ambitions, with Seat looking to increase its market share from 2% to 3% among so-called true fleet end-user and contract hire business.
"We don't intend to do it overnight. There's a three-year plan and we'll have SUVs to help us get there," McDonald explains. "Growth is coming in end-user business - not all mega fleet or all small fleet. It needs to be in all channels."
Seat's fleet boss declares that the firm has the appetite for more large deals such as the Centrica and Zurich ones, but is aware "how aggressive" rival firms can be when pitching.
"It's not the intention to win every Zurich-type deal - we don't have the resource to beat Vauxhall and Ford to every deal - but we know we have to take a share and it's good end-user business and good brands to be associated with," he says.
In preparation for growth, Seat two years ago doubled the size of the external customer-facing fleet team, according to McDonald, putting it at a similar size "to some competitors with a much larger share than us", he claims. "We've got the infrastructure in place to grow," he adds. "We're growing and want to considerably increase the number of customers we work with, and need to speak to customers and get them to demonstrate our product