SEAT CEO Luca de Meo shared his views on the challenges facing the auto industry at an event held in Madrid, framed in the Ágora conference cycle organised by the daily elEconomista. This morning’s talk was moderated by elEconomista director Amador G. Ayora.
De Meo reiterated that SEAT is in the process of going from being a carmaker to becoming a mobility solution provider and highlighted that “over 100 years ago, the automotive industry put society on wheels. Now we find ourselves at an even more crucial point, and I am convinced that we have the necessary mindset, capability and commitment in order to emerge even stronger.” In addition, he pointed that “the achievements of the past should serve to motivate businesses and institutions to push progress forward and share prosperity with society in order to continue to evolve.”
With reference to the arrival of alternative energies and the electric car, the CEO of the company announced that “materials science is tackling the challenge of developing state of the art, affordable materials that will enable the electric car to extend and the definitive emergence of renewable energies.” De Meo underlined that SEAT recently presented its electric offensive, which includes six new electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles by both SEAT and CUPRA; and that the company is going to develop a new electric platform for urban cars together with the Volkswagen Group that “will be the basis for making electric vehicles affordable to a wider public – we aim to contribute to democratise sustainable mobility.”
The CEO of SEAT underscored one of the most ambitious projects in the scope of connectivity and artificial intelligence, namely the electric, autonomous car. “As soon as the technology and legislation are in place, the autonomous car will have the potential to reduce the cost of road transport by 90%.” De Meo also pointed out that it will help SEAT achieve its goal of zero accidents: “the connected autonomous car is going to make driving ten times safer by removing the human factor from the equation, which today is responsible for more than 90% of all traffic accidents.”
Finally, Luca de Meo talked about the importance of people, who are behind every technological revolution, and insisted that “we must invest in education and in training our workforce. In 10 years, 50% of our employees will be doing different jobs than today, and some of these don’t even exist currently.” For this reason, last year SEAT invested close to 23 million euros in training, the equivalent of 1,500 euros per employee, or 17 times more than the national average. “Helping our employees reinvent themselves is essential”, he concluded.