BARCELONA -- Volkswagen Group's Spanish brand, Seat, reported a 48-million-euro ($54 million) loss in the first quarter of 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic and said the second quarter will be worse.
"We are confident we will recover," Carsten Isensee, the brand's interim CEO said on Wednesday at a press briefing, noting production at Seat's main plant in Martorell, outside of Barcelona, was currently almost the same as before the pandemic.
Seat said it plans to invest 5 billion euros ($5.6 billion) in research and development, equipment and electric cars from 2020-2025 and is committed to making electric cars in Spain with the right government support
The brand is willing to make electric models at its Martorell plant, starting in 2025, but this will depend on a step up in renewable energy and charging infrastructure in Spain, among other factors, Isensee said.
Isensee said the Spanish government's recent plan to support the automobile sector was a step in the right direction, but there was also a need to stimulate demand for electric cars.
Seat has had a turbulent start to the year after record sales in 2019, when it delivered 574,078 vehicles -- 11 percent more than in 2018 and the third year in a row of double-digit growth.
Luca de Meo stepped down as chairman in January to later become Renault's chief executive.
Seat also closed its Barcelona factory for around six weeks due to the pandemic and temporarily laid off thousands of workers.
The brand launched its first full-electric vehicle, a battery-powered version of its Mii minicar, last year and plans to have six electric and plug-in hybrid models by 2021.