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Ambitious Seat looks to exploit niches

Date: 07 July 2009   |   Author: Guy Bird

Seat is planning to boost its UK market share through the introduction of more niche cars, similar to the way sister brand Audi has expanded its range.

Peter Wyhinny, Seat UK managing director, told Business Car: "We're currently a 1.5% player in the market but I see no reason why we can't reach 2.5%. Seat only covers 65% of segments at present so we can grow our market share by filling new niches to get to nearer 75%."

The new Ibiza halo-model trio of FR, Cupra and Bocanegra continue the niche filling this autumn as go-faster variants of the supermini using the 1.4 TSI petrol engine. The FR offers 150PS while the other two deliver 180PS and are differentiated by exclusive styling - including the Bocanegra's signature black frontage - but despite their range-topping sportiness all offer 44-plus mpg and sub-150g/km CO2 figures making for sensible business use (a fifth of all 14,000 UK Ibiza sales currently go to fleet). A 105PS 1.6 TDI engine will be added to the conventional Ibiza range at the same time.

These cars will be followed by further important business cars - a new Alhambra large MPV and supermini estate Ibiza ST in 2010 - plus a city car to replace the Arosa and based on the VW Up platform in 2011. A compact off-road style vehicle to rival the Nissan Qashqai based on the Tribu concept is also under consideration.

Seat’s product push timeline
Ibiza Bocanegra/Cupra/FRAutumn 09
Ibiza 105PS TDIAutumn 09
Alhambra (MPV)Winter 10
Ibiza ST (estate)Winter 10
City car2011
Tribu (small 4x4)2012?