Volkswagen is denying a report, in the German magazine Der Spiegel, that it wants to sell Seat. That article said the Spanish carmaker had been given a deadline by VW of until the middle of next year to substantially raise sales and earnings and increase cash flow to justify further investments in the brand. Even in its home country Seat’s sales are shaky. They are down so far this year by 3.7%. The company sold just 150,202 cars in Spain in 2004, compared with a total of 167,627 in 2000.
The idea that Seat might be sold, or that its Martorell plant in Barcelona could be shut down, was dismissed by motor industry analysts. They said the Der Speigel report should seen in the context of the current talks about wages and layoffs between management and unions in Spain. VW is working to regain its competitiveness.
The company recently said it is wants to reduce its surplus manpower, which is particularly relevant at Seat, where production has been cut leaving the company with 800 excess workers, that is 10% of the workforce.