The Volkswagen Group is planning on further separating its Skoda and Seat brands by pushing the latter upmarket, while allowing Skoda to serve as a better rival to the likes of Hyundai, Kia and Dacia.
This means that Seat models could be priced higher than even VW brand ones, marking the Spanish automaker as a direct competitor to FCA’s Alfa Romeo brand, something former VW Chairman Ferdinant Piech also wanted.
“We want to manage our brand identities more clearly in future,” said the VW Group’s product strategy chief, Michael Jost, in an interview with Automobilwoche, a sister publication of Autonews Europe.
“Seat could represent even more emotional cars, as exemplification by its Cupra models. Skoda could serve eastern Europe markets more intensively, as well as customers seeking functionality, even more intensively,” said Jost.
Positioning Seat as a more upmarket brand actually seems easier than dialing things down for Skoda, which has proven to be a match for VW brand products in many ways – in terms of onboard tech, available options, engine range and so on. Still, VW could simply scale down premium extras in future Skoda models so as to focus more on previously neglected markets, especially in eastern Europe where Hyundai, Kia and Dacia have pushed down the Group’s market share.
As for how all of this will impact the group itself, VW is apparently keeping an eye out for possible overlaps in order to make sure its own lineup doesn’t clash with other brands.
“We are taking a very close look at possible overlaps in the product portfolios of all brands. We will not launch a Tiguan Coupe in the European market, for example,” added Jost.