Seat will remember 2019 as the year of the records, since it will close a round year with records in sales and production, with around 505,000 vehicles assembled, despite the bump that led to the interruption of production in November due to the problem of a supplier.
At the sales level, the automobile brand delivered 542,800 cars until November, 10.3% more than in the same period of 2018, the largest volume in its history in the absence of a month to end the year.
In 2018, the Spanish subsidiary of Volkswagen sold 517,000 cars, a figure that broke the record set in 2000.
The company will also end the year with a record production of some 505,000 cars at the Martorell plant in Barcelona, according to estimates by the chairman of the Seat company committee, Matías Carnero.
This figure (above 474,000 in 2018) will be achieved despite the fact that in November the factory had to close several days due to supply problems caused by a supplier’s factory fire.
The production stop meant that between 13,000 and 15,000 vehicles were stopped manufacturing those days, according to union sources, although a part have been recovered by opening the plant three days in December that were initially considered holidays.
The record in production and sales will bring the highest benefits achieved by Seat, which won in 2018 almost 294 million euros, which led the company’s workers to receive an extra pay of 1,068 euros.
Carnero has explained to Efe that the new record of sales, production and benefits expected for 2019 will mean that the workforce will also pay an additional record, of around 1,300 euros, the maximum amount established by the Collective Agreement.
Looking forward to the next year, when the current agreement expires, Carnero points out that one of his demands to the company will be “uncovering” the maximum amount established for the payment of benefits of the workforce.
In the last International Motor Show in Frankfurt (Germany), held in September, the president of Seat, Luca de Meo, already predicted that Martorell would produce over the next few years at maximum capacity, at a rate of about 500,000 vehicles per year, while boasting of the good health of the brand.
De Meo, who takes it for granted that after the Christmas holidays he left Seat to sign for Renault, he recalled that when he arrived at the company in 2015 the production was 350,000 cars and that the production capacity has grown by 60%.
Immersed in a product offensive, the company maintains ambitious plans for 2020, the year in which it will face challenges such as the economic slowdown, the increase in R&D costs due to the commitment to electrification and the demanding European regulations of CO2 emissions.
On this horizon, the company committee of Seat has claimed to the management of the Volkswagen Group the award of at least another model for Martorell, even if it is combustion. “There are 5 or 6 years of turmoil in the automotive world. The volume of electric cars that will be manufactured is still unknown. We need to maintain production capacity,” explained Carnero.
Currently, Martorell, the largest car factory in Spain, has three lines in which the Arona and Ibiza are assembled; the Lion and the Formentor (in 2020); and the Audi 1.