EconomyFinancialWhy are Mexicans still obsessed with a hatchback called...

Why are Mexicans still obsessed with a hatchback called Ibiza?

Seat has adapted its range of vehicles in recent years. Just seven years ago, the Spanish-born brand didn’t have any crossover or SUV options, but today there are three such models to choose from, ranging from the compact Arona to the seven-passenger Tarraco.

Despite this commitment to SUVs, Seat has not forgotten its core models, including the Ibiza , a vehicle that has sold more than six million units globally since its debut in 1984. This hatchback opened the door to the brand in the Mexican market.

“Seat has achieved that this car has an organic integration with the new generations. The design has evolved and has been coupled to the time. In fact, in its recent facelift (update), the design was practically not touched and rather updates were made inside, “said Juan Pablo Gómez, director of Seat in Mexico.

With a sporty appearance, a 355-litre trunk and plenty of space in the rear, this model has managed to remain one of Seat’s sales pillars. In 2021 it was the best-selling model of the Spanish brand now owned by the Volkswagen Group. “More than 50% of the brand’s sales volume is concentrated in Ibiza,” explained Gómez.

Ibiza is one of the few hatchbacks to remain bestsellers in Mexico, amid an avalanche of SUVs and crossovers taking over sales floors. However, the model has an equivalent crossover: Arona .

The model went on sale in 2017 and is the smallest SUV in the Spanish brand’s range. It sits below the compact Ateca and the seven-seater Tarraco, and features the same sharp styling cues that are common across the Seat range. Although it is mounted on the same platform as the Ibiza, unlike the hatchback, the Arona is eight centimeters longer and almost eleven centimeters taller.

Arona is the second best-selling model of the brand in Mexico. “It represents about 30% of our sales in the market,” said Gómez.

For Seat, having two bestsellers based on the same platform, one higher than the other, is a winning formula. A few extra inches of height motivates buyers to spend several thousand pesos more. While Ibiza costs 299,900 pesos, the price of Arona starts at 379,900 pesos.

Both models, in addition to the renewal of the Leon compact hatchback , boosted the brand’s sales in 2021.

“But the beginning of the year is costing us a lot due to complications at the international level,” said Gómez. “(Inventory of) Seat Ibiza is arriving, although not enough as we wanted. We used to sell more than 1,000 a month, in the best of times. (In the last three months the average monthly sale is 700 units). But little by little more product will arrive. And we expect the same from the Seat Arona”, he added.

The manager said he is confident that in the coming weeks he will have “a robust inventory.” “It hasn’t been easy, if it’s not one thing, it’s another, and that’s complicating the offer,” Gómez said.

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