|The New SEAT Leon X-perience, one of the showcase models helping SEAT achieve record growth|
For the sixth consecutive year, SEAT has smashed its UK sales record. Selling 53,512 cars in total, the sporty Spanish brand gained 18.1 per cent on 2013. Outpacing the UK car market’s own growth by nearly 100 per cent, the firm narrowly missed out on chasing down both Honda and MINI, with market share up too, from 2 per cent to 2.16 per cent.
Just as crucially, SEAT performed well in the right channels. Its retail sales rocketed upwards by almost a quarter to 29,901, while its fleet team more than held its own, posting 23,611 sales, a substantial increase of 11.2 per cent on the 21,239 in 2013.
Within SEAT’s six–model line-up, the Leon family led the charge, outstripping the iconic Ibiza for the first time. With 23,125 sales, no doubt its sizeable awards haul in 2014, as well as the full year impacts of its SC (Sports Coupé) and ST (Sports Tourer) derivatives aided its 50.8 per cent gain on the year before. Chasing it hard was the three-model Ibiza range, ending the year on 22,500.
Again, shattering another SEAT UK record, up 13.8 per cent on 2013.
Commenting on its latest set of impressive sales figures, SEAT UK Director Neil Williamson, said, “To set another sales record in the UK is fantastic and I’d like to take the opportunity to thank the SEAT UK team, as well as our dealer partners, in achieving such a superb result for 2014. There’s a real sense of momentum with our brand at the moment, which we’ll be looking to capitalise on in the months ahead, with unsurprisingly, yet more ambitious growth targets to hit. “We’ve made great strides in fleet and retail over the last couple of years, so as well as cementing our position in both in 2015, the most pleasing thing for me will be the upgrading of our UK dealer network. It’s a huge undertaking to install our new corporate identity across 130-plus sites, but I’m confident the more modern and upmarket look will allow us to deliver an even greater customer experience, in line with the desirability and high quality of our cars.”
SEAT ended 2014 having delivered 390,500 internationally, 10 per cent more than in 2013 (355,000), its best achievement since 2007. As a result, SEAT has accumulated 21.7 per cent growth in the last two years alone, having found homes for almost 70,000 vehicles more than in 2012 (321,000). The UK cemented its position as the brand’s third largest market, behind Spain and Germany.
SEAT sales have been largely boosted by the Leon family. In 2014, it saw a 50 per cent increase, rising to 154,100 units, 51,300 more than the previous year. Since the launch of the new generation in 2012 – the first with three different bodystyles – the Leon has more than doubled its sales, and has posted a 116 per cent increase (2012: 71,200 vehicles). It has also achieved the best sales results since its launch in 1999, and for the first time has replaced the Ibiza as SEAT’s best-selling car.
The ST estate version of the Leon, launched at the end of 2013, accounted for a healthy volume of 47,100 units – 30.5 per cent of the model’s overall figure. The brand’s MPV, the SEAT Alhambra, also achieved double-digit growth in 2014, exceeding 23,000 units (23,100; +15.6 per cent).
SEAT Executive Committee Chairman Jürgen Stackmann, made a satisfactory assessment of these results.
“For the second year running SEAT sales have seen double-digit growth. The Leon family has been a turning point in our history. It has become the second pillar of the brand and has opened the door to new customers”. Stackmann said of 2015: “Our goal is to consolidate growth. The range is going to grow and be renewed this year, starting with the models we already have, and we are getting ready for the immediate future – the arrival of the compact SUV in 2016”.