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Company Culture of Seat and How It Differs from Other Car Manufacturers

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In the report, apart from describing the Company and the company visit experience, please also include information regarding the following questions:

SEAT was founded in 1950 in Spain. It is a Spanish automobile manufacturer and its head office is in Martorell, near Barcelona. At the time the automobile Spanish market was quite limited. The first SEAT cars were very expensive until they launched the SEAT 800 in 1963 that targeted average Spanish consumers. Throughout the years SEAT has had a partnership with Fiat from 1967 to 1982 and then it was bought by Volkswagen in 1986. To this date SEAT remains a brand under the Volkswagen flag and leverages the power of the German car manufacturer.

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Detail the mission and culture of the company

While taken over by Volkswagen, SEAT company kept a unique culture. SETA supports the personal growth and professional development of its employee. SEAT cares about its community, environment and employees. They all work as one team. “People come first” “We are family” “Together we celebrate the success of our brand, our cars and our work” (Seat.com, 2018). These are the words that SEAT employees live by. This company is more than just a place they go to work to, it became part of their lives. They are member of a family and they contribute to the well-being of the company on a daily basis. Everyone has an important role to play and are an asset of SEAT. SEAT offers a great work life balance by giving flexible working conditions, and a good working environment. To keep its employees engaged SEAT offers numerus projects and a performance based salary is in action. The company provides as well nice benefits which include a very nice Health Center.

How is SEAT integrating technology and mobility to its products?

Mobile technology is a fundamental mega trend. It allows consumers and therefore car drivers to be connected to anyone and everyone, no matter the time or location of the person. Mobile technologies include smartphones, global positioning systems (GPS), never lost systems, internet browser etc. It is so pervasively entrenched in day to day lives that millennials even wonder how their parents could have lived without it. Given how reliant common processes are on mobility, it has become crucial to be connected at any time. Not only it is a great way of communication in the work environment, but it also helps to stay connected with loved ones. Moreover, the mobile technology has also saved lives in emergency situations.

De Meo, SEAT’s president understands that mobile technology is fueling the future of his company. To develop the best technology and mobility services, innovation is in the heart of SEAT. No less than one thousand employees are working in the technical center to develop the cars of the future and to create the best fit for SEAT’s customers. The mobile technology is used as a service to keep SEAT’s customers safe but also offers apps and cars’ function to keep customers connected with the world in the safest way by integrating the smartphone into the car.

One of the many technologies incorporated in the cars is “Full Link”. The purpose of this function is to stay connected with the world in the safest and easiest way. It offers many functions that allows the passengers and the driver to interact with smartphones and benefit from mobile apps that increase comfort ease of use and navigation and safety and security without distracting the driver’s attention.

Android Auto and Apple CarPLay, are two apps for two different smartphones (Android and Apple) that serves the same function. The car becomes an extension of the smartphone and everything is processed through voice control, so the customer can keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road for a safe ride.

SEAT DriveApp helps you keep track of your driving performance. It informs you about your car and let you know when you need to maintain your car. In the meantime, it also tells you about the authorized dealership and workshop nearby. It also challenges you to drive better by offering you 16 different games. Customers have the possibility to track their drive, speed, time, and gas consumptions. Another very innovative option is the “read to me” feature, that works by synchronizing e-mails, and socials media to the car which can then can read out loud any messages and updates.

These three functions are all about keeping customers safe but allowing them to stay connected, to be safe and to track their driving.

What differentiates SEAT from other car manufacturers?

SEAT is the only Spanish car manufacturer able to design and produce cars in the country furthermore in Catalogna. Its manufacturing plant is situated in a zona franca that allows SEAT to export to external markets under more favorable terms. A railroad track connects it to the Barcelona harbor that is a major advantage for export too. Unlike independent car manufacturer though, SEAT is part of the VW group which gives SEAT more buying power and larger leverage for innovation.

To retain its unique position of being able to sell Spanish cars to Spanish people, the company must remain self-contained and keep most functions in country. The attractive local labor rates makes it sustainable in the European market, while the brand is attractive to Spanish speaking countries in Latin America. Over ¾ of the production is shipped abroad making it one of the most exporting company in Spain.

SEAT and the Volkswagen group. How was SEAT involved in the Volkswagen emissions scandal? What measures were taken afterwards?

Volkswagen owner of SEAT has been involved in a diesel emissions scandal that erupted in September 2015. VW had sold cars with a defeated device designed to cheat the emission test. The diesel engines used by VW are the same used for the SEATs. 76 773 SEATs sold between 2009 and 2015 have been affected as the cars models contained that manipulated engine and were set for recall. Once recalled the cars will require mechanical changes and an update of the software. The acquisition promises were for SEAT to keep its brand while leveraging the central functions such as research and development and procurement and design and engine manufacturing. That served SEAT well through the years. But it raised the bar for these central functions as mistakes made centrally are also leveraged throughout the various branches. This is what happened in this scandal and SEAT inherited of the issue. With the good leverage comes the bad decisions too. However, on a global basis one may say that the VW brand was more negatively affected that SEAT itself. The Spanish people did see SEAT as a victim of VW rather than the culprit. While this scandal wasn’t good at all for SEAT with 700,00 cars affected, it probably reflected less badly to SEAT’s brand than to VW brand itself. SEAT cars sales remained significantly ahead of VW sales in Spain.

SEAT as sponsor. How does sports sponsorship benefit brands?

SEAT has been a long-time sponsor of the UEFA Europa League from 2009 to 2012 and la Copa del Rey which helped establish its popular positioning as Soccer is the most popular sport in Spain. By associating the brand to the games SEAT positioned itself mainstream and gained mindshare. The same logic pushed SEAT to sponsor the Olympic games in 1992 in Barcelona. Since then SEAT associated itself with more elite spots such as the Tennis Coupe Davis to get a tint in a more upper-class market. But more importantly SEAT target trendy artist such as Shakira, David Guetta or Armin van Buuren to reach the millennials. More recently, SEAT has sponsored events in the North African market signaling its geographical diversification strategy. Finally, as many other car manufacturer, SEAT is sponsoring events that involve competition and mechanics to project an image of mastering leading edge technology. The Red Bull Air Race world championship combined all these elements.

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