SEAT Leon Sales Beyond Spain
Although people commonly refer to the “Volkswagen MQB” platform, what is more to the point, or at least more accurate, is that it is the “Volkswagen Group MQB” platform. This common platform—transverse, front-engine configuration, nominally front-wheel drive but capable of accommodating four-wheel drive—is used by an array of vehicles in the VW Group of companies, ranging from the Audi A3 to the Volkswagen Atlas (yes, small compact to midsize crossover), from the Škoda Scala to the SEAT Leon.
And it is the last-named that is of interest here, because the Barcelona-based Volkswagen Group company has announced that since the first-generation compact hatch appeared in 1999, the company has sold more than two-million of them, of which the current gen-three version, which was launched in 2012, is responsible for more than one-million units.
(To mark the sales success someone on the SEAT PR staff or at its agency calculated that were all of the two-million vehicle lined up they’d be over 9,000 km long, or the length of the Trans-Siberian train, although it seems odd that one would equate a compact car with an efficient means of mass transportation, but we’ll let that pass.)
SEAT has cleverly devised variations of the Leon (e.g., X-Perience, a wagon configuration with four-wheel drive; Cupra R, a performance Leon with a 310-hp engine) so as to bump the sales of the vehicle, appealing to more segments.
But here’s something interesting about the Martorell-built Leon, something that probably has people in Wolfsburg scratching their heads:
The biggest market for the Leon is not Spain but Germany.
Germany accounts for 24 percent of Leon sales, and Spain 20 percent.
What’s more, for SEAT as a whole Germany has become a bigger market than its home country: Through August, 94,800 SEATs were sold in Germany and 80,000 were sold in Spain.
Certainly, Volkswagen Group benefits whether it is a Golf for a Leon. But for those who are responsible for Golf sales, this influx of Leons has to be, at the very least, somewhat annoying.
Seems like platforms can be two-edged swords.
It’s the fifth generation of a vehicle that has been increasing in sales year after year since its introduction in 1997.
Back in 2012 Audi bought Italian motorcycle manufacturer extraordinaire Ducati for €860-million which, at the time, probably seemed like a good idea.
The previous-generation Hyundai Elantra (2010 to 2015) had the edgy Fluidic Sculpture design forming its sheet metal; it’s bigger brethren, the Sonata, was more visible in this regard, though the smaller size of the Elantra gave the skin a greater tautness than was the case on the Sonata.