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SEAT removes all optional extras from its range

Published 15 August 2018

SEAT has made the unusual move of deleting all optional extras from its range in a bid to make the car buying process simpler.

Dubbed 'Easy Move', SEAT says it's 'responding to the needs of millennials' by asking buyers to simply pick an engine, trim level and colour. Each trim level will be tagged as tech, luxury or sport to appeal to different buyers, with metallic paint now standard.

The brand trialled Easy move with its Arona earlier in the year and says it was met with 'outstanding' support from customers and dealerships. With half-year sales up 22 per cent in the UK, Seat says it's clearly tapped into a distinct customer need.

“Everyone used to think that having loads of choice was a good thing," said SEAT UK director, Richard Harrison.

02_seat

"In fact, people find it really difficult to understand all the permutations and options when buying a new car. We realised it was time for a change and that if we can help people get to what they want in an easier way, then they will enjoy the experience more."

As well as making the car buying process easier for the customer, complex WLTP changes to official fuel economy tests mean individual factory options could change the CO2 output of the car. By scrapping all factory options, it reduces confusing variations in fuel economy and CO2 emissions.

Easy Move has been rolled out across SEAT's range now with 2019 models available to order. On Ibiza, Leon, Arona, and Ateca models, trim levels begin with SE, and move into comfort-based Xcellence and sporty FR.

Easy Move adds three additional trims that cater for customers who would previously have added options: SE Technology, FR Sport and Xcellence Lux.

Comments

mmmmm    on 15 August 2018

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mmmmm    on 15 August 2018

Well...I believe like many others, that it is within my capabilities to read a SEAT brochure and price list, pick out a few extras, personalise the car to my requirements and pay for my choices.

You remove our choices and we have a couple of customer options of our own...do it your new way...introduced by the use of the most transparent "customer driven demand" (show us the proof)...or take our hard earned elsewhere.

If I want a sunroof, or rear parking sensors, not already fitted to the trim level of my choice and you take that facility away from me, then I take my custom away from you. No doubt your competitors are already smiling at your inept commercial error.

Do not try to dumb your customers down.

Poor millennials having to deal with a hard world, bewildering choice and SEAT amble along and patronisingly and condecendingly offer to make your whole life so much easier, by almost telling you which SEAT car your going to have to have, if you are daft enough to part with your money.

Now call it what it really is...a cost saving measure due to WLTP changes, that would have compelled SEAT to test each individual car with differing (previously available) options fitted. Call it "Cheap Move".

KingRat999    on 20 August 2018

Yes, I totally agree with everything you say. I really do detest this idea that us poor customers are unable to work out what we want.

Keith Nason    on 15 August 2018

And yet Kia have been doing this for years and sell lots of cars!

I quite like this approach because the number of cost options and option packs has got ridiculous, you can easily spend thousands of pounds more than the cost of the standard car on the options list. It's especially ridiculous that you've got things like solid colours and things that should really be standard on the options list (for example rear parking sensors on the Astra and split folding rear seats on BMWs). You know for certain that some things are only on the options list because the manufacturers know that a lot of people will specify them and therefore pay more. There's also the seemingly random limitations of which options you can have with which.

You're right that this is much more likely to be a cost saving choice by Seat but you have to expect the marketing people to work out a way to sell it as a great new concept. I suspect that other manufacturers are likely to follow suit in the near future. We'll probably end up with a wider choice of trim levels and maybe a smaller selection of "option packs" to limit the cost impact of the WLTP requirements.

It does help the customer going for a lease or PCP deal as options are generally more expensive because, unlike the car itself, the finance company doesn't give them any residual value.

By the way, it's good to see that Seat are not charging any extra for any of their paint combinations at the moment!

Edited by Keith Nason on 15/08/2018 at 21:50

mmmmm    on 16 August 2018

And yet Kia have been doing this for years and sell lots of cars!

I quite like this approach because the number of cost options and option packs has got ridiculous, you can easily spend thousands of pounds more than the cost of the standard car on the options list. It's especially ridiculous that you've got things like solid colours and things that should really be standard on the options list (for example rear parking sensors on the Astra and split folding rear seats on BMWs). You know for certain that some things are only on the options list because the manufacturers know that a lot of people will specify them and therefore pay more. There's also the seemingly random limitations of which options you can have with which.

You're right that this is much more likely to be a cost saving choice by Seat but you have to expect the marketing people to work out a way to sell it as a great new concept. I suspect that other manufacturers are likely to follow suit in the near future. We'll probably end up with a wider choice of trim levels and maybe a smaller selection of "option packs" to limit the cost impact of the WLTP requirements.

It does help the customer going for a lease or PCP deal as options are generally more expensive because, unlike the car itself, the finance company doesn't give them any residual value.

By the way, it's good to see that Seat are not charging any extra for any of their paint combinations at the moment!

If a car maker, not mentioning any German brands, decide to offer a multitude of optional extras, there is ALWAYS the choice to read them and pass them by, after all they are just as they are described, optional. Car makers are in business to sell cars and therefore produce dividends for their shareholders, to whom they have the primary economic obligation, so in optioning items that most of us agree paticularly in expensive cars, should be standard, they are fulfilling their obligation and we have choices of our own that we can make, stay and pay, stay and do without, or go elsewhere.

Both Vauxhall and Renault in very recent times, dealt with the seemingly bewildering high number of trim levels and both admitted defeat, to trim them by more than 50%, sometimes more. Those folks using PCP/PLP are actually paying off the depreciation on their choice of car and are then presented with the usual options at lease end, so adding certain options that enhance the used value, will increase the predicted residual value and therefore decrease the monthly payments accordingly. An example would be full leather trim on a clearly premium car that with cloth or part leather trim as standard, will be of less interest to the next owner and much harder to move on as a result.

Those that do charge for flat white or red paint, offering only what was known as DOOM BLUE or some other ghastly colour, as the only non paid for colour are being excessively greedy, knowing that most folks will shell out another £250-400, to avoid be looked upon as a meany and having an otherwise nice car, spoiled by this situation.

Edited by mmmmm on 16/08/2018 at 16:48

Keith Nason    on 16 August 2018

Car makers are in business to sell cars and therefore produce dividends for their shareholders, to whom they have the primary economic obligation, so in optioning items that most of us agree paticularly in expensive cars, should be standard, they are fulfilling their obligation and we have choices of our own that we can make, stay and pay, stay and do without, or go elsewhere.

Thanks, but I'm aware of the way that commercial organistations work. It doesn't mean that I have to agree with it and neither does it prevent me from pointlessly complaining about it in the comments of a news story on a car website that is never going to be read by anyone who is able to do anything about it. Pointless compaining is a basic human right, or if it isn't it should be and it's something else to complain about.

Those folks using PCP/PLP are actually paying off the depreciation on their choice of car and are then presented with the usual options at lease end, so adding certain options that enhance the used value, will increase the predicted residual value and therefore decrease the monthly payments accordingly. An example would be full leather trim on a clearly premium car that with cloth or part leather trim as standard, will be of less interest to the next owner and much harder to move on as a result.

In my experience, it's not true that options increase the residual value and decrease monthly payments. In the PCPs I've had, the option cost has been simply spread over the term of the PCP so that you effectively pay for them in full. Some options may make a difference if you choose to trade the car in at the end of the PCP, but will not if you hand it back. I admit that I don't know enough about how PLPs are calculated to know if there's any residual value in options for those.

IMHO it's not necessarily a bad decision by Seat and I think other manufacturers will go down a similar path. Having said that, I thought we'd start to see some special editions of some cars at just under £40k when the new car tax laws came in, but I haven't seen anything yet. Maybe there's no evidence of it affecting sales yet. Maybe it won't affect sales enough for manufacturers to think it's worth doing anything about.

Edited by Keith Nason on 16/08/2018 at 22:15

mmmmm    on 17 August 2018

Car makers are in business to sell cars and therefore produce dividends for their shareholders, to whom they have the primary economic obligation, so in optioning items that most of us agree paticularly in expensive cars, should be standard, they are fulfilling their obligation and we have choices of our own that we can make, stay and pay, stay and do without, or go elsewhere.

Thanks, but I'm aware of the way that commercial organistations work. It doesn't mean that I have to agree with it and neither does it prevent me from pointlessly complaining about it in the comments of a news story on a car website that is never going to be read by anyone who is able to do anything about it. Pointless compaining is a basic human right, or if it isn't it should be and it's something else to complain about.

Those folks using PCP/PLP are actually paying off the depreciation on their choice of car and are then presented with the usual options at lease end, so adding certain options that enhance the used value, will increase the predicted residual value and therefore decrease the monthly payments accordingly. An example would be full leather trim on a clearly premium car that with cloth or part leather trim as standard, will be of less interest to the next owner and much harder to move on as a result.

In my experience, it's not true that options increase the residual value and decrease monthly payments. In the PCPs I've had, the option cost has been simply spread over the term of the PCP so that you effectively pay for them in full. Some options may make a difference if you choose to trade the car in at the end of the PCP, but will not if you hand it back. I admit that I don't know enough about how PLPs are calculated to know if there's any residual value in options for those.

IMHO it's not necessarily a bad decision by Seat and I think other manufacturers will go down a similar path. Having said that, I thought we'd start to see some special editions of some cars at just under £40k when the new car tax laws came in, but I haven't seen anything yet. Maybe there's no evidence of it affecting sales yet. Maybe it won't affect sales enough for manufacturers to think it's worth doing anything about.

Well, I do not know the extent of your understandings of business and many folks who have some knowledge, do not necessarily know how it is applied to the automotive sector...You can complain to your hearts content, though do understand that it does invite comment for various reasons. Disagree with your point that such comments do not get read by those with relevant influence...two car journos have made it known to me, in email correspondence, that they regularly check out forums such as this and pass on worthy points to those who matter.

My comments re options added and in some way mitigating depreciation were not made with reference to you...well you did go on to say "in my experience"...but with reference to automotive trade articles, where it is pointed out that manufacturers and trade price guides meet regularly and well before launch to find the right spec balance for the UK, in order to maximise residuals and not overdo trim levels that end up costing more than the others in that class. It may simply be that you did not find out which options would fit into this cxategory and go on to specify them.

You said "some options may...so you were really just repeating my previous point, the one you were hoping to contest...furthermore, worthwhile options that due mitigate depreciation are factored into the PCP, as quite simply, neither the maker or the driver know at the start, if the car will be returned or kept and given that the driver must have a monthly payment quotation to base their decision on, the options will have to be considered at the quotation stage.

Other makers may indeed go down the SEAT route...that does not change either the main reason for doing so (cost to them), or my opinion of that decision, further limiting consumer choice within that brand. Way too early to find out affect on sales (either way), still does not change the effects of their decision.

BMW Enthusiast    on 16 August 2018

Good call Seat. Having to wait on factory fitted options can delay the delivery of a car for weeks and people simply decide to walk away.

mmmmm    on 21 August 2018

Good call Seat. Having to wait on factory fitted options can delay the delivery of a car for weeks and people simply decide to walk away.

Explain how it is a good call (for) SEAT, if the prospective buyer, walks away, given you say the previous delay was too long?.

Mike H    on 18 August 2018

Personally I'd rather be able to pick the options that I want, than be forced to pay for a lot of standard equipment that I don't want or need.

edinburra    on 20 August 2018

Totally agree, POr wee lambs.

   on 20 August 2018

Im not sure what difference it makes. Ultimately SEAT will either make a car you want to drive or not. I suspect if one of the trim packs has what you want then you'll buy it but if there is a deal breaking omission then you won't. It's that simple.

mmmmm    on 21 August 2018

Im not sure what difference it makes. Ultimately SEAT will either make a car you want to drive or not. I suspect if one of the trim packs has what you want then you'll buy it but if there is a deal breaking omission then you won't. It's that simple.

The puzzle you have over the difference this makes, has been answered by....yourself...in that the buyer will choose it or walk away.

Roy H.    on 20 August 2018

I'm all for this approach, all too often in the past the rip-off prices charged for bolt-on goodies has been extortionate. I know what I want and can reckon a good deal when I see it. Roy H.

edenman4    on 20 August 2018

Research shows that most customers are put off by being offered too much choice and salespersons often pressure customers into buying extras that they don't really need. SEAT's approach seems reasonable to me. Also, I'd like to say how impressed I was with the latest Ibiza. It was not quite the car I was looking for, but I would really really like to have had one.

mmmmm    on 21 August 2018

Research shows that most customers are put off by being offered too much choice and salespersons often pressure customers into buying extras that they don't really need. SEAT's approach seems reasonable to me. Also, I'd like to say how impressed I was with the latest Ibiza. It was not quite the car I was looking for, but I would really really like to have had one.

Please cite this research, or withdraw that very general remark.

If a buyer is pressured into paying for something they dont really need, then that is the problem of the buyer, not the salesperson, or the previous , though no longer availability of options...in fact you could easily argue that deleting options and selling only cars with no further choice, places pressure on buyers to purchase a car that has items that would previously been optional, now madatory, that they would not have previously chosen, equals new car buyer with a car they paid more for, due to SEAT's new "customer driven" policy. But thank you for helping that point to be made.

Michael O'Brien    on 20 August 2018

We bought an Arona when it first came out and as the better half won't drive a car without a rear view camera had to go for the top trim Xcellence Lux which does have some extras that I could do without and am, of course, paying for in this trim. An SE Technology + camera would have been considerable cheaper and I don't see that a camera would have any effect on WLTP.
Having said that it's a great car!

mmmmm    on 21 August 2018

We bought an Arona when it first came out and as the better half won't drive a car without a rear view camera had to go for the top trim Xcellence Lux which does have some extras that I could do without and am, of course, paying for in this trim. An SE Technology + camera would have been considerable cheaper and I don't see that a camera would have any effect on WLTP. Having said that it's a great car!

Perhaps you did check, but will you confirm that no other car on your shortlist, had this camera or was available as......an option, either stand alone or part of a pack?.

WLTP is not affected by the camera per se, new rules determine that every option must be tested individually on each model, I believe.

RobpH    on 21 August 2018

Anyone who thinks is idea is to make it easier for customers is deluded. This is to make it easier and therefore cheaper to manufacture the cars, but this saving will increase profits, It is not to benefit customers but themselves.

mmmmm    on 21 August 2018

Anyone who thinks is idea is to make it easier for customers is deluded. This is to make it easier and therefore cheaper to manufacture the cars, but this saving will increase profits, It is not to benefit customers but themselves.

As well documented previously, yes.

   on 23 August 2018

I just cant see how difficult it would be for Seat to offer three option models such as
Base "S"
Mid "SE"
Sport "FR"
Then just offer limited range of add ons.
Such as steel spare wheel
Led lights front and rear.
Rear camera.
I know that unless I can specify a Seat or any other manufacturer with these features I will seek someone who does.

mmmmm    on 23 August 2018

I just cant see how difficult it would be for Seat to offer three option models such as Base "S" Mid "SE" Sport "FR" Then just offer limited range of add ons. Such as steel spare wheel Led lights front and rear. Rear camera. I know that unless I can specify a Seat or any other manufacturer with these features I will seek someone who does.

Indeed, seems they neither want/need your money. Wonder if these posts are read by decision makers or those who feed them information?. Anyway, plenty of choice out there.

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