Al­ter­ing the Seat of power

Re­cy­cled Audis could be the go, writes PAUL GOVER in Paris

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

RE­CY­CLING has taken a new di­rec­tion at Seat, which will force an Aus­tralian re­think for the Span­ish brand. Seat is tak­ing on su­per­seded Audi cars and giv­ing them vis­ual tweaks be­fore adding its badges. The ob­jec­tive is Audi-style qual­ity at Seat prices, a pol­icy driven from Volk­swa­gen Group head­quar­ters in Ger­many.

The lat­est Seat Exeo sedan is a mild tweak of the just-su­per­seded Audi A4 sedan, and Seat also has plans to re­work the com­pact A3.

The Exeo was re­vealed at the Paris Mo­tor Show along­side an edgy Cupra hatch, which has a twin-turbo 1.4-litre petrol en­gine.

But it is the po­ten­tial of the re­cy­cled Audis that is at­tract­ing at­ten­tion from Volk­swa­gen Group Aus­tralia, even though it has pre­vi­ously passed on the chance to rein­tro­duce the brand. It chose in­stead to go with Skoda, which has a youth-first pol­icy in its de­sign and prices.

‘‘There is no tim­ing to bring Seat into Aus­tralia. First, we want to grow Skoda,’’ VW Group Aus­tralia boss Jutta Dierks says.

Even so, she says the new-age Seat range is more at­trac­tive, and there could be a chance for a work­able busi­ness plan with new man­age­ment at the top of the Span­ish divi­sion.

‘‘The new mod­els def­i­nitely make in­ter­est­ing. They are very sporty and could be at­trac­tive for Aus­tralia,’’ Dierks says.

Seat has big plans for the Exeo, which takes it into a new show­room cat­e­gory in Europe. The A4 sedan is much big­ger than its pre­vi­ous mod­els, but will be sold from about $39,000.

‘‘With the Exeo we are of­fer­ing a car for dy­namic and sporty driv­ers . . . an in­ter­est­ing al­ter­na­tive for qual­ity-aware com­pany car driv­ers who are looking for driv­ing fun but . . . pay at­ten­tion to low fuel con­sump­tion and low emis­sions,’’ Seat pres­i­dent Erich Sch­mitt says.

Turn around: Seat has great plans for the re­cy­cled Exeo (above) and the hot Cupra (be­low), which has a twin-turbo 1.4-litre petrol en­gine.

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