Performance fans should probably be happy to hear that.
Everybody seems to be obsessed by Alfa Romeo these days. Hyundai, for example, wants to become a “sexier” brand than the Italian company, while – according to Volkswagen Group boss Herbert Diess – SEAT should be transformed into a direct competitor to Alfa.
"Young, sporty, desirable, emotional - this is how we are positioning SEAT a little higher," Diess commented to Automotive News recently. "Today, SEAT has a much better product mix than just a few years ago and has the youngest customers in the group network. I believe this brand still has plenty more potential.”
VAG’s new CEO wants SEAT to appeal to people who are young and don’t remember Alfa Romeo’s glory days. That way, the Spanish manufacturer will widen its market scope and attract new-to-the-brand clients.
"For people our age it is a fantastic brand, but ever since I can remember Alfa has been on the decline," Diess added. “Ask a 25-35 year old about Alfa, they are at a loss, they have no idea what Alfa is.”
Diess wants to reposition the brands within the Volkswagen Group’s portfolio. Volkswagen will remain the core volume marque, while Skoda will continue to be a value-driven and slightly more affordable alternative to the German brand. SEAT will take the role of the sportiest unit, especially with the newly-launched Cupra separate performance brand.
SEAT is currently busy preparing its third SUV model, the sporty Tarraco, which should be launched later this year. It will be a more exciting cousin to Skoda’s Kodiaq, with which it will share its underpinnings and engine range. Depending on the market, customers will be able to choose from 1.5- and 2.0-litre TSI turbocharged petrol engines, as well as a 2.0-litre TDI diesel.
As a final note, SEAT is having a successful 2018 so far with operating profit in the first six months up by 63 percent year-on-year.