SEAT is ‘no longer a sporty brand’

SEAT Leon 2013

The future of SEAT is in producing functional, practical cars rather than super-hot sporty models, new MD Juergen Stackmann has told MR.

Speaking at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Stackmann explained SEAT cars should not go to extremes and “should not be brash.

“Anything that suggests they are niche and radical will not lead to further growth.”

The ideal SEAT should be a “functional, practical dynamic car, without being hard.

“The core of the range is the Leon FR – that is the perfect SEAT.”

This means we are unlikely to see some of the more extreme SEATs that have dominated the range in the past: it seems an ultra-hot 300hp Leon Cupra R may now not be on the agenda, for example, despite previously being under assessment by the brand.

SEAT first offered sporty turbo versions of the Leon back in the late 1990s, with the 1.8 VT model. This was later made racier and renamed Cupra, with an even hotter Cupra R arriving in 2002.

Today, SEAT sells the new Leon in FR guise, with either a 184hp 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine or a 180hp 1.8-litre TSI petrol.

A 2.0-litre petrol with at least 220hp will follow later, probably wearing Cupra badging but now, it seems, unlikely to be as edgy and outlandish as previous Cupras.

What do you think of this move – do you think SEAT’s new direction is wise or should it continue to try and be ‘the Spanish Alfa Romeo’? Share your thoughts below…

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