Interview with Isidre López. Director of the SEAT Historic Car Collection
Following the great worldwide recognition of the fourth generation Leon, SEAT's Historic Cars director Isidre López reviews the 21 years of history and the keys to the success of one of the brand's pillars.
What does the Leon signify for SEAT?
With the launch of the first generation in 1999, SEAT made a major breakthrough in one of the most important segments, the compact class, and put itself firmly on the global automotive map. Today, the Leon is the company's best-selling model, and in all of SEAT's history and in terms of sales, it is second only to the Ibiza, which has been on the road for 15 years longer.
What are the keys to its success?
Above all, the commitment it has always made to quality and design. In each of its generations, the highest technology available has been used and this has contributed to creating not only a characteristic personality, but also a high quality car. Always at the forefront, throughout its 21 years of existence it has maintained the same Mediterranean and sporting DNA that differentiates it from its competitors and makes it appeal to everyone, both young and old. It is a car that is widely appreciated by its users, and word-of-mouth has played an essential role. This is largely due to its dynamic strengths that have made it a benchmark in its segment since the beginning.
How has each generation stood out?
The first generation was the Volkswagen Group's first vote of confidence in SEAT championing technology. It was SEAT's first model to deliver 180 hp output, with four-wheel drive and a six-speed gearbox. The second generation featured the Leon's characteristic dynamic design line on the sides. It was also equipped for the first time with electromechanical power steering and active safety elements. As for the third generation, it was the first model in the segment with full LED lights. The design of its headlights gives it such a personality that it is easily recognisable from a considerable distance.
And now it's the fourth generation's turn. What are its main highlights?
It's a car that has outdone itself, and that was a challenge because in my opinion it has always been one of the best SEAT designs. In addition, the safety and emissions technology makes it a vehicle that is, I dare say, ahead of its time.
The fourth generation Leon is the result of 21 years of evolution of one of SEAT's cornerstones. From the first model in 1999 until now, the Leon has always been equipped with the latest technology while retaining its personality. Above all, I would highlight its dynamic capabilities. When it was launched that was a great advantage and today it still is, though with even greater precision. It's a car made for driving lovers.
Today it's an example of innovation in the automotive sector: it's the company's first fully connected vehicle; the safest, equipped with adaptive predictive cruise control and Emergency Assist 3.0, and for the first time it has a full LED lighting system that runs across the entire width of the body.
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