40 new models by 2018: SEAT chief outlines dramatic expansion plan

SEAT has some ambitious plans. The Spanish subsidiary of Volkswagen is targeting a twofold increase in sales from 400,000 to 800,000 units by 2018, but currently has a line-up of seven models that, for the most part, are little more than rebodied VWs with a poorer reputation. While speaking with the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, SEAT CEO Erich Schmitt outlined an aggressive expansion plan that involves cutting down its workforce, reducing manufacturing times, drastically broadening its model range and improving the brand's image.

Having recently laid-off 900 workers, Schmitt says his company needs to trim another 700. Production time for the next-generation Ibiza hatchback will be cut down to 18 hours, compared to the 27 it takes to assemble the current version. But here's the kicker: Schmitt says that its model line-up will more than double from the current seven to fifteen by 2012 and shoot up to forty by 2018. Yes, you read that right: 40 models. We don't know how Schmitt is counting (trim levels?), but 40 models is closer to the total range of the whole Volkswagen Group than it is to SEAT's own product range.

[Source: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung via Carscoop]

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