MADRID – Volkswagen will invest €3.3 billion ($3.7 billion) to update its Spain-based SEAT subsidiary’s Martorell plant through 2019 and another €900 million ($1.02 billion) in the Landaben facility where the VW Polo is assembled.
Juergen Stackmann, CEO of SEAT, says VW’s investment in Martorell will be 40% larger than the amount spent in the preceding 5-year period. In announcing the new investment at SEAT’s 40-year-old technical center at Martorell, near Barcelona, Stackmann notes SEAT invests more in R&D in the country than any other automaker.
Accompanied by Spanish President Mariano Rajoy, Stackmann also says SEAT will launch a new midsize CUV next year and three more new models in 2017.
The CUV, to be exhibited in March at the Geneva auto show, will be assembled by Skoda, VW’s Czech Republic-based subsidiary, at its Kvasiny plant in that country. Competitors will include the Kuga assembled by Ford of Spain in Almussafes, near Valencia.
The other three models will arrive to the market in 2017: the replacement of the current Ibiza, an updated Leon and a small CUV using the same mechanical platform as the Ibiza and designed to compete with the Renault Captur.
The Martorell investment provides some reassurance for 14,000 SEAT workers whose jobs were jeopardized when the automaker stopped assembling the Altea range earlier this summer and VW last year chose Skoda over SEAT to build the Yeti midsize CUV.
The Altea was launched in 2004. Similar in appearance to the larger Leon, though with a smaller size, sales totaled 67,125 in its first year of life, peaking at 71,377 in 2007. Altea sales went into freefall in 2010 and only 18,584 units were delivered last year.