“Seat is a Spanish brand or Catalan ? “This issue, obviously, Luca di Meo wasn’t expected and the CEO of the automaker Spanish dry for the first time, yet so brilliant. We are at the beginning of September at the Frankfurt motor show less than a month before the runaway politico-media coverage of the referendum on independence initiated by the Catalan region.
Not making partisan position
A week after the referendum, declared illegal by Madrid, but, according to the president of the region, a unilateral declaration of independence, major groups have announced their departure to other climes. Starting with Sabadell, the fifth-largest bank in Spain, and Caixa Bank, the first of Catalonia and second in the country.
The name of the Seat has also been mentioned in certain organs of the press. The automotive group has its headquarters and a major factory in Martorell to 45 minutes from Barcelona. “We do not take sides in this debate “, we replied at Seat. And yet, the subject is serious because, in the case of independence, Catalonia would no longer be the party of the european Union or the single market, except at the end of a very long process of negotiations and integration… Too long, too complicated, for investors who want visibility.
A plant consequent
In the case of Seat, the challenge lies not only in its single brand. The Martorell plant is strategic in the industrial device of the Volkswagen group, the mother company, since that is where the Audi A3 and A1, but also the Seat Ibiza Leon and Arona. In 2015, this site has produced nearly 477.000 cars and the arrival of the new Ibiza has still placed stress on the production lines, as much as the Q3 will be renewed next year.
It is therefore difficult to consider the site in Martorell, outside of a commercial area consistent, and the market of 8 million catalans will not suffice. Except that it is more complicated to move a factory or the headquarters of a bank, and a fortiori when it has recently invested capital.
The need for a “stable policy”
On Friday, the news agency, the Spanish Efe is able to collect the words of a leader of Seat. After this, Seat has no intention of leaving Barcelona. “Seat is a company whose roots are in Barcelona, Catalonia and Spain. But at the same time, it is a multinational company with a global vision and like every business, it needs a political context stable “, would have reported this source.
In other words, the Seat has not defined a plan of departure, but it could, however, reconfigure its industrial device if the region was entering a phase of instability of the long-term.
Seat in the middle of the renaissance
For the Volkswagen group, it would be a bad news that happen at the time that Seat comes out of her period of convalescence after years and years of financial losses. The Spanish brand has succeeded in its repositioning of the business with a new range well received that the Ateca come in 2016, its first SUV. The new Ibiza and the Arona, a compact SUV, must amplify the movement prior to the arrival of a third SUV in the next year. Ever Seat had sold so many cars. In the first half, sales increased by almost 14% in comparison with the same period of 2016 which was already a record.
Luca di Meo is also pleased to learn of the healthier financial situation of the group. In the first half, the operating profit amounted to 130 million euros, compared to 143 million profit earned for the whole year of 2015.