2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 15:44
Seat uses the platform of the previous Audi A4 generation to enter the middle class. A new world opens up for experienced Seat specialists.
Siblings of Thomas Flehmer can tell a song about it, especially the youngest offspring of a family. You have to wear the belongings of the older family members instead of strolling with the latest collection. Things are a little different in the large VW group. Because instead of mopping up, Seat is happy about already worn platform modules from sister company Audi. On the basis of the expired A4 platform, the Spanish VW subsidiary will enter the middle class for the first time next year with the Exeo, which is the third largest segment in Europe.
In order to enter the middle class, the systems in Ingolstadt had to be dismantled and installed in Martorell, Spain, near Barcelona. A total of 1200 truck loads were necessary to move the machines over around 1200 kilometers in eight weeks. Construction took another seven weeks. “A logistical masterpiece,” says project manager Wolfram Thomas.
Since the targeted needs of the Exeo will by no means tie in with the success of the A4, those responsible have now minimized the production stand, which was previously spread over 25,000 square meters and several halls, to a space of 14,000 square meters and one hall and only adopted the basic concept of the systems. “We needed the solution that is most interesting for us from the economic point of view and that fits in best with us,” says Thomas.
30 percent new parts
The result is a sedan that cannot deny the relationship to the A4 both inside and out, even if the front and rear are individually designed. The fact that 30 percent of the parts, around 1800 in number, are new, seems like George W. Bush is assuming that he will be elected for a third term.
Many modules such as the parts for pedestrian protection or the chassis have certainly been optimized, but the shadow of Audi is always within reach. Likewise in the interior, although the well-contoured seats or instruments were taken from the in-house construction kit. And the three engines, two petrol and one diesel, offered for the market launch at the end of March / beginning of April 2009 come from the Wolfsburg forge.
No four-wheel drive and no convertible
With the 1.6-liter entry-level petrol engine and 102 hp, the Spaniards want to attract customers who then only have to pay 21,990 euros for the A4 variant. The old A4 cost 24,500 euros in its basic version. With this unit, however, you have to say goodbye to the sporty claim that Seat has always maintained. From 27,990 euros, the 200 hp TFSI, which cost 31,700 euros as an A4, and the two-liter TDI with 170 hp, which is another 1000 euros more expensive, meet this requirement, with which Audi feelings can very well be experienced.
The Exeo pre-production models are a little louder than the originals from the Ingolstadt production. But by the start of production at the turn of the year, the noise should not only be better insulated thanks to the double glazing. In contrast, the chassis will remain designed to be much more comfortable in order to meet the requirements of the main Spanish market. That is why there will be no all-wheel drive version and no convertible version either, which do not play a role in Spain.
It all depends on the perspective
But the Exeo, which is derived from the Latin Exire (= to go out), should also bring new customers to the German market. The makers are not afraid that potential buyers will give a potential “old cheap Audi” the cold shoulder. In contrast to the Audi A4, which is located in the middle of the model range in Ingolstadt, the Exeo, which is to be followed by the station wagon variant six months after the market launch, has become the flagship and figurehead.
The point of view is what matters. At Audi, premium is taken for granted, at Seat you will be amazed at the quality it has gained, which Seat has not yet been able to show to this extent. And so Wolfram Thomas also insists that the Exeo is not a discarded A4, but an optimized and therefore independent version. Because the little Spanish sister does not want to wear the things that the older siblings have discarded.