The Spanish automaker has been a part of VW group since 1986, and forms a trio with Skoda and Volkswagen in its model lineup. Introducing the brand in India will help boost VW’s sales and brand image.
Volkswagen Group is big, and if you do not know its extent. Here are some details, VW Group consists of Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini, Ducati, Bugatti, Porsche, Skoda– brands that exist at the top of their respective segments, but slightly unknown to the Indian context, the Spanish automaker SEAT is also part of the VW group. SEAT-Sociedad Española de Automóviles de Turismo was started as a state undertaking in 1950, and in ‘86 was sold to VW, of which it is a subsidiary and is a maker of vehicles much alike the Volkswagen brand. Its vehicle portfolio looks a strong commitment for the Indian market, and VW should think about bringing the brand here and making a stronger statement.
VW group currently has Volkswagen, Skoda, Audi, Ducati, Lamborghini and Bentley in India. And Skoda and VW are the only budget brands that it has seen fit to introduce, which is perhaps not the best strategy as here the biggest growth is possible in the lowest of the price segments and seeing that neither of these two brands have performed the best in the country, VW needs to rethink its strategy if it has to become a leading automaker in the country, a goal to which it has committed by introducing models like Tiguan, T-Roc and the new Taigun to the market. The addition of models from SEAT, either directly or branded under VW can only help their campaign.
Seat sells eight models in Europe, and some electric scooters as well. Its range stretches from the Mii Electric- one of the cheapest electric cars one can purchase to the Tarraco- a full-fledged 7-Seater SUV that sits alongside its Czech cousin, the Skoda Kodiaq. There is also the Ibiza, a redesigned Volkswagen Polo which shares everything other than the body design, and the most interesting one perhaps is the Arona-a buffed up crossover SUV based on the Ibiza which has reportedly been spotted testing in European specification in Pune, powered by a 1.5 litre engine and designed to reflect the signature Seat sharp design, it would be a very interesting option to rival Hyundai Creta and the Seltos.
Being a subsidiary of VW Group, it is a standard thing for the Seat to maintain a higher quality on most of its engineering, even if it lapses on qualities like comfort and style. This is what has made the Volkswagen and Skoda brands reputable in the country, the extreme standards of quality they maintain with all their offerings, and this will help Seat brand to gain a hype even before it is launched here. The practical vehicles it offers will be a big help to the brand, with the Ibiza going up against the Baleno, i20 and its own sibling the Polo. The Mii electric can be a smart bet for the market, if it can be priced alongside similarly specced conventionally powered vehicles in the 4-6 Lac INR segment, a segment which currently has no electric options available.
The Arona and the Tarraco perhaps might be the biggest game changers for the brand, with one rivaling the Creta and the latter rivaling the Fortuner, both respective leaders of their segments. The Arona comes with a muscular profile and unique design, bundled along with a good standard set of equipment, it can be a good option alongside the Creta and the Seltos, both of which are bigger and loaded with more features but the Arona can undercut them and use its quality standard to attract customers at a marginally lower budget.
The Tarraco is a big car, and very practical indeed. Its similarities to the Tiguan Allspace is proof enough of the calibre of the vehicle. While the Indian SUV market is still dominated by the Fortuner and the Endeavour, the tide is definitely shifting towards more luxury and comfort oriented vehicles rather than the big, turbocharged vehicles which are fairly uncomfortable compared to others. Directly more a rival of the Hyundai Santa Fe and the Tiguan Allspace, which are both similarly specced and priced, the Tarraco offers a more sportier drive as stated to Seat in comparison to all of its rivals, courtesy of the 2 litre TDI engine which pumps 200 horsepower and 400 Nm of torque which easily surpasses the other cars in the segment.
Seat is successful in its European campaign, even though Volkswagen and Skoda- all three share the platform, engines and other equipment. In India the same is done by Hyundai and Kia, the Seltos is based on Creta underpinnings and shares the engine and other equipment and has been fairly successful at heating up the competition in the segment and effectively running other vehicles out of the race by making it a duel. But there is currently no official indication from VW Group that it will launch the brand in India, so we have to wait for that and hope that VW takes the leap.
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