BARCELONA -- Seat believes that an extensive rework to the Ibiza's design and the addition of new features will win its best-selling model even more customers.
Strong demand for the Ibiza is crucial to the money-losing Spanish brand's turnaround plan as the subcompact accounted for 55 percent of the Volkswagen Group subsidiary's 350,009 sales in 2011.
"The Ibiza is Seat and Seat is the Ibiza," Ulf Eberhardt, Seat's head of product marketing, said at the car's press launch here.
In Europe, the current Ibiza, which is the third-generation of the car and has been on the market since 2008, accounted for 52 percent of the Volkswagen Group subsidiary's 311,217 sales last year, according to market researcher JATO Dynamics.
Seat is counting on a product offensive that includes the face-lifted Ibiza, the new Mii minicar and the next-generation Leon to make the brand profitable by 2013. Seat reported a 225 million euro operating loss in 2011, which was an improvement over the 311 million euro loss it had in 2010.
Seat says the subcompact gets most of its business from buyers in their 30s and 40s. Eberhardt believes the updated Ibiza will continue to appeal to those buyers because its new design is highlighted by the addition of optional LED daytime running lights and LED taillights.
The optional LEDs allow Seat to create a unique light signature that makes the Ibiza immediately recognizable and distinctive, said Seat head of product management Wilko Stark.