SEAT today presented its financial results for the year 2021. SEAT as a whole increased its sales in 2021 compared to 2020, delivering 10.3% more cars.
However, the aftermath of the pandemic, the microchip crisis and rising raw material costs have taken a toll on the bottom line. SEAT records some operating losses of 256 million euros.
SEAT SA sold in 2021 a total of 470,500 cars, of which 391,200 were of the SEAT brand (which represents 2% less than in 2020) and 79,300 units under the brand CUPRA. It should be noted that in the case of CUPRA, almost 70% of the cars sold were CUPRA Formentor (54,600 units) and 41% were electrified models.
The electrified models, that is to say essentially plug-in hybrids, are another sales success of the brand. In 2021, it sold 60,600 electrified units, of which 32,513 were under the CUPRA brand.
In terms of total volume, CUPRA does not yet have a high weight. However, on a financial level it is emerging as essential. And it is that CUPRA represented 25% of turnover of the company in 2021.
SEAT SA’s turnover increased by 5.4%, reaching 9,250 million euros, while the market share of SEAT and CUPRA grew by 3.6% in Europe. Even so, SEAT lost 256 million euros. And it is not for a question of sales, as we have seen.
Pandemic, microchips and the war in Ukraine prevent SEAT from returning to the path of profit
For Seat, several trends prevented it from achieving the expected recovery. Production was greatly affected by the microchip crisis. Seat stopped manufacturing 125,000 fewer vehicles25% below its initial expectations for the year.
“In 2021, after learning to live with the negative effects of covid, our plan to return to profitability was dramatically affected by another crisis: the shortage of semiconductors,” said Seat president Wayne Griffiths.
Regarding production, the group explained that Seat manufactured 423,888 cars (+4.2% compared to 2020), of which 385,200 left Martorell. Let us remember that the SEAT and CUPRA Ateca, the SEAT Tarraco and the CUPRA Born are manufactured outside of Spain, in the Czech Republic (Ateca) and Germany.
Obviously, the war in Ukraine has been present and SEAT is already contemplating that the production of some models may be temporarily paralyzed. The Cupra Born has already been affected by production disruptions at the Volkswagen plant in Zwickau, while production of the Seat Tarraco has been halted due to a lack of Ukrainian-made parts.
In fact, Wayne Griffiths has been somewhat pessimistic about this situation. “What worries me the most is that if the energy price and supply are further disrupted, this could hit our production even harder than covid or the semiconductor shortage.” He adds, by way of warning, “the company cannot continue to make losses“.