Money-losing Spanish brand Seat will miss its target of making a profit in 2013, but positive signs are increasing for the Volkswagen Group subsidiary. Seat's global sales grew 11 percent to 324,500 cars during the first 11 months last year. Europe accounted for more than 80 percent of those sales. That number would worry most auto bosses given the region's six-year slump, but Seat President Juergen Stackmann sees great potential for growth in the region. Stackmann, who took over Seat in May 2013, explained why he's bullish during an interview with Automobilwoche Editor Guido Reinking and Reporter Pia Krix. Automobilwoche is a sister publication of Automotive News Europe.
Your predecessor, James Muir, said Seat would be profitable by 2013. That goal will be missed. How much time will you need?
We want to be profitable as soon as possible. That's our No. 1 goal. But we are not currently focusing on the precise point in time, but rather on our three building blocks: our product portfolio, sales and costs. We do 80 percent of our volume in Europe, and we are dependent on these sales results. We see positive signs that our core markets are recovering. Even our home market seems to have bottomed out. We are cautiously optimistic about the next few years.