LONDON - The newest entry in the mini segment has contributed to its expansion, but a decision to move production from Germany to Spain means it is well behind its original goals.
At its April 1997 launch, Seat expected production to reach a rate of 110,000 units this year. The company expects to achieve only half that.
Sales in western Europe matched projections for the first year. Seat Chairman Alain de Smedt projected sales of 50,000 in the first year, and Seat sold 45,269 Arosas in the 12 months ending 30 April 1998.
However, Seat spokesman Mario Guerriero said Seat expects to sell only 40,000 in 1998 and 50,000 in 1999, despite a good start and a rising market.
Through May, 29,532 Arosas were sold in a segment that was up 20.3 percent. However, production was interrupted to move the car from the VW Wolfsburg plant to the Seat plant in Martorell, Spain. VW wants room in Wolfsburg for more Golfs as well as the Volkswagen Lupo, the Arosa twin that debuts this fall.
'Production is in line with our plan' made at the time the plant switch was decided, said Guerriero.
Arosa production stopped in April for the move, and it will be September before production reaches the Wolfsburg level of 200 units a day. Guerriero said the ramp-up will reach 60 units a day in July. Production began in Martorell in May.