SEAT aims to double hot hatch sales

SEAT are aiming to double the normal rate of their hot hatch sales with their recently released Leon Cupra.

Usually, hot hatches rake in around a three per cent share of the sales of the standard cars they’re based on, but early order numbers suggest that the new Cupra could take as much as six per cent, if not more.

Neil Williamson, director of SEAT UK said: “In a full year that would give us sales of 600 to 700. It’s started well, and that says a lot about the brand. We want to get the sales mix up to 10 per cent and I think we can do it.”

The most powerful production SEAT to date

The new Cupra is based on the standard Leon, which recently won Fleet World’s award for Best Lower Medium Car.

SEAT’s latest hot hatch is available in five different versions based on the three-door Leon SC and five-door hatchback bodies. Four are powered by a fire-breathing 277bhp 2.0-litre turbo engine that’ll take them from 0-62mph in just 5.8 seconds, while a single SC version with a 263bhp engine is also available.

Recently, the Leon Cupra managed beat the Nurburgring Nordschleife lap record for a front wheel drive car, becoming the first FWD car to ever dip below the eight-minute mark.

The Cupra also has the most technological features of any car that SEAT has offered so far with an electronic front differential and dynamic chassis control are the sort of things normally found in Audis.

SEAT – a record breaking brand

SEAT sold a record 45,300 cars in the UK in 2013, a 16.8 per cent improvement on the previous year against an overall industry increase of 10 per cent and things are looking promising for the Spanish carmaker.

Talking about the company’s market performance, SEAT UK’s director said: “We are up 22 per cent against an overall industry increase of 11 per cent. Eighteen months ago there was a sense of crisis, but that has gone now.”

“Last year’s launch of the Leon ST has opened up a whole new world for the brand. It has made us credible in the fleets and we have done a couple of really good deals with Centrica and Zurich.”

The manufacturer’s future

As far as other plans go, SEAT are due to release their first SUV in 2016, which promises to give the brand another string to their bow.

“When I look at what SUVs did for Nissan, it brought a whole load of new customers in,” said Williamson. “The segment is growing almost every day in terms of new entrants, but it is really hard to plan volumes. The segment is either going to slow down because it has become too aggressive, or get even bigger because the cars meet people’s needs.”

Pricing on the new Leon Cupra begins at £25,690 for the basic three-door sport coupé, and £27,245 for the five-door version.