BARCELONA, Spain - Seat says the UK is its main target for expansion this year.
Although the maker increased its sales there by 35 percent in 1996, the UK is still far behind the other main European markets in numbers sold.
Seat's first quarter 1997 registrations in the UK were an encouraging 5,005 units. This 25 percent rise was also a first quarter record for Seat. The overall market rose only 3.5 percent.
Seat is confident that the arrival of its Arosa mini this month will boost sales further.
Seat's UK sales are well behind those in France and Italy, although the UK is a bigger market. That makes it obvious 'where our next major expansion must come,' said Seat UK spokesman Jonathan Zammett.
When Seat's Cordoba Vario arrives at the Barcelona auto show this month, the maker will have eight models. Three years ago it had only two models.
The Vario will initially have two engines: a 100ps, 1.6-liter gasoline unit and a 90ps, 1.9-liter turbodiesel.
Seat was the 14th biggest carmaker in Europe last year, in a ranking of individual marques. It beat Volvo, Honda and Mazda.