VW Wants A More Upmarket Seat Brand And More Affordable Skodas

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.

Also read: Skoda Begins Production Of Battery Packs For VW Group’s Plug-In Hybrids

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.

  • boo boo the fool

    aren’t Hyundai and kia moving upmarket? And personally I’ve always felt skodas are nicer than seats but it makes sense because of its cupra subbrand

    • XtremWize

      Seats have always been better manufactured and assembled more accurate than Skodas.

    • black jack

      Yeah, I’m thinking the same. Current Hyundai and Kia models are on par with Skoda.

  • Mike anonymous

    A “Return To Form” Would Be Nice. Although It Has Only Been Moments Prior To The Posting Of This Article That I Has Made The Post Shown On Another.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2785e4db7ab3268ec6910f5a3539a8ee340cb54bb6d2699149f85452aaa2e9ec.png

    This was the goal of Seat during the beginning of the 21st century, although conflict within the VW-Group has arisen leading to the line of products we have now, albeit with some very wonderfully designed vehicles such as the Leon (Shown Below in Pre-Production Form) coming to market features the (above) design language.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6af9eb47be978cf71f349982698f9a0ea9f548e67482cf9831792b36e5766afe.png

    I will be linking Some Videos Below To Show just where Seat has been heading during the 2000s’. Seat deserves more as a brand, and I am certainly looking forwards to seeing what VW Has Planned for the Seat brand for the future once more.

  • Jason Panamera

    People like and are buying skodas because they can buy VW car without VW badge. High percent of Superbs and Kodiaqs are configured pretty good with prices almost doubling it’s bace price. Making Skoda more affordable is interesting move to observe. Seat as more upmarket brand is nice idea, but it will involve desing and tech ,,almost” at Audi level if they want to fight Alfa Romeo and create new image of this brand what will be the biggest challange. I hope that Seat’s future won’t suffer the same fate as Phaeton project.

    • Giannis Antypas

      People do buy Skodas as well as they buy SEATs :

      5,3% was in August the market share for Skoda in Europe and 4% for SEAT. Not that big difference as one would have thought of.

      And 0,3% was the market share for Alfa Romeo, whereas for Mercedes it was 5,7%.
      No brand would actually like to pursue Alfa Romeo’s fate.

      The problem with VW is that they have always undermined SEAT.
      In the late ’90s a big mouthed VW likely positioned SEAT as the sporty brand and under the pretexts they mishandled it in the opposite direction,
      eg the first thing they did was to ditch the existing SEAT Cordoba coupe model and replace it with the Altea MPV, in a period of time when VW itself had relaunched the Scirocco.
      The same thing goes with SEAT’s cabrio concept, the Tango,which never was given the green light etc, whereas VW had the Eos.
      The story goes on with large family cars like the Bolero, which never came to production, whilst VW had the Passat and the Phaethon, and so on.
      Even in the SUV segment SEAT was the last in the group to be given access,
      VW alli in all diluted SEAT’s orientation by prioritizing a budget feel aspect and its group synergies (remember anyone Alhambra and Mii).

      No halo cars, no matching brand prtfolio, limited market coverage etc, simply mean VW never meant it and never gave a chance, they just used SEAT as a scapegoat.

  • Mr. EP9

    More affordable Skoda are fine, but upmarket Seats?

    Volkswagen management must be huffing diesel exhaust.

    • Giannis Antypas

      Upmarket is not a bad thing. Premium pricing is bad

      Premium as in Alfa Romeo thing trying to compete against Mercs.
      As a result, Alfa Romeo’s market share sunk to 0.3% (not by 0,3%), last month in Europe.

    • This has been my massive issue against VW management since it brought SEAT. Skoda is pushing upmarket but is now being told to push down instead. This whole “let’s make SEAT a sporty brand” has also now changed. VW itself lacks any sort of clarity for future development for the majority of its brands. It’s like they forget most of it’s other brands exists when they make announcements like these.

      With the success of Mazda, if VW actually gave SEAT what they needed, a proper success could be made out of this persona – heck, they allowed Cupra to exist as it’s own separate sub-brand. It’s sad to see a brand as great as SEAT to have no dedicated forecast or identity.

  • designer_dick

    If this means no more Volkswagen or Skoda products with some minor styling revisions and a SEAT badge on the front (I’m thinking of the Mii, Toledo and Alhambra), then I’m all for it, but I fail to see how they think they can push SEAT further upmarket when they’re selling variants of some of the company’s newer products (Ateca and Tarraco) at bargain basement prices under the new Jetta brand in China.

  • isn’t this what killed Saturn?

    don’t do a GM VW… you should know better then messing with the current formula.

  • Sébastien

    This is a perfect way to kill Skoda… ?

  • Elmediterraneo

    There is no space for two brands under Volkswagen brand which Seat’s current position.
    And also there is no space for two premium brands by fighting against Audi.
    Porsche is still on some premium segments like the SUVs and the Panamera but always with more exclusivity than their Audi equivalent models.
    And even if Fiat-Chrysler is such a bad parent company who struggles to deliver new models they were able to invest in an all new RWD platform for Alfa Romeo and asking Ferrari to develop the V6 engine of the Quadrifoglio versions.
    How a lower-trim spanish brand who rebadges some VW models will be able to attain that level of legetimacy against a brand like Alfa Romeo who has such a prestigious motorsport history.

  • Elmediterraneo

    I think that the best strategy for that is to split Cupra from Seat even more by giving it more specific premium sporty brand image and develop models on the Audi’s MLB architecture with V6 or even V8 engines.
    While on the same time letting Seat on the same place as it is right now, same market as Skoda but with another design approach.

  • Jason Panamera

    I think that Skoda is now what VW should be.

  • McFly

    Isn’t this what car people have been saying for twenty years? “VW must get their brand overlap sorted.”

  • XtremWize
  • carlbolt

    By looking the title I thought VW is going to use better seats in their cars.

    • boo boo the fool

      they could use that tbh

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