SEAT will be the first car brand in Europe to integrate Amazon's Alexa voice service in its vehicles. The announcement has been made by the Spanish carmaker in the framework of the Frankfurt Motor Show. The Alexa service will be available at the end ofthis year in the Leon and Ateca models, and in the Ibiza, Arona and the large SUV in 2018.
Launched in 2014, Amazon's Alexa will now be integrated in SEAT's cars, offering drivers advanced connectivity. Alexa has more than 20,000 skills thanks to the open skills development kit, which encourages developers to continually expand and evolve Alexa's capabilities.
Amazon Alexa will enable SEAT drivers, using voice commands, to optimise their time while in their car: managing their personal schedule, finding songs, locating points of interest, real-time news or the nearest dealership, among many other functions, all within the strictest privacy protocol. Alexa can be used in English or German, the two languages that are currently available for it.
"Integrating Amazon Alexa in our range represents a great boost to SEAT's digital ecosystem and connectivity and certainly contributes to position the brand as a front-runner in connected vehicle in Europe", pointed out SEAT President Luca de Meo, who added that "the trend in voice-activated services is growing and for this reason we want to make it available to our customers".
"We're excited for SEAT to incorporate Alexa into its vehicles" said Ned Curic, VP Automotive, Amazon Alexa. "We think voice is a big part of the future and this is particularly true in cars. With just a tap of the steering wheel, SEAT customers will be able to ask Alexa for music, get the news, control their smart home, and much more."
Amazon Alexa is not the only novelty featured by SEAT in Frankfurt. The German venue is also the backdrop for the official presentation of the company's new models.
One of SEAT's major highlights at the event is certainly the international presentation and market launch of the SEAT Arona, with prices starting at €15,990. Following the Ibiza, the new compact SUV is the second car built with the MQB AO platform which SEAT was the first to implement within the Volkswagen Group. Presented last June in Barcelona and built exclusively in Martorell, the initial units of this crossover will be delivered to customers in November.
The Arona stands out for its design, great height and width, its compact crossover dimensions, huge customisation potential and the most advanced technology in safety and connectivity. The compact crossover is part of SEAT's biggest ever product offensive following the Ateca, the Leon facelift, the new Ibiza and the new 7-seater SUV which is set to make its appearance next year.
SEAT is showcasing the Digital Cockpit in Frankfurt, which is featured in the Arona, Leon ST CUPRA, Ibiza and Ateca. Thanks to the new Digital Combi, to be introduced in early 2018 first in the Leon and the Ateca and later in the Ibiza and the Arona, the instrumentation not only has a more modern and versatile design, but will also give better functionality. Finally, the Beats audio sound system, a brand bringing energy, emotion and excitement that has changed the way people listen to music, will also be available in the Ateca and Leon by the end of the year. This revolutionary sound system is already available in the Ibiza and Arona.
In addition to presenting the Arona, SEAT also surprised visitors with the exclusive Leon CUPRA R, the limited edition of only 799 units of the brand's most powerful car will be available at the end of 2017. Either with a six-speed manual (310 hp) or DSG gearbox(300 hp) and front wheel drive, its body features exclusive carbon fibre detailing on the front and rear spoilers, side skirts and rear diffuser, while the door mirrors, wheels, wheel arches and newly designed front grille, with its mighty air inlets, are all copper coloured.
CUPRA has evolved throughout its 20-year history with a range of high-performance sporty cars that have managed to conquer the most discerning drivers. In 2016, for example, sales of the Leon CUPRA exceeded 9,000 units annually, reaching 2% of the total for SEAT. Sales in the first seven months of 2017 exceeded 5,000 units and the forecast is to reach 10,500 until the end of the year.
In this context, SEAT plans to take the CUPRA spirit beyond the car itself, by creating a universe surrounding the brand that includes unique experiences with future cars, merchandising and partnerships, This New 'CUPRA world' will also include a dedicated network of SEAT dealerships which will include a differentiated space for the brand and where customers can test drive the sporty models.
SEAT Vice-president for Sales and Marketing Wayne Griffiths pointed out that "from its very beginnings, CUPRA has been a symbol of evolution and innovation for SEAT, closely linked with circuits and the open road". Griffiths also highlighted that "in certain markets such as Germany, the main one for SEAT and where CUPRA is widely popular, sales represent 10% of the total for the Leon model. This scenario encourages us to take CUPRA to the next level".
Moreover, and following the CNG fuelled engines on the Leon and Mii, SEAT is launching a new model powered by this kind of fuel: the new SEAT Ibiza 1.0 TGI, further proof of SEAT's strong commitment to Compressed Natural Gas as a clean, efficient fuel alternative.
CNG combines the best of two worlds, diesel and petrol, as it generates 85% fewer nitrogen oxide emissions when compared to diesel engines. At the same time, it decreases C02 emissions by 25% in comparison with petrol engines and eliminates nearly all suspended particulate matter.
The 1.0 Ibiza TGI features three available fuel tanks, one for petrol and two for CNG, which combined provide a total driving range of 1,200 kilometres (390 with CNG) and only 88 g/km of C02 emissions in CNG mode. The SEAT Arona will also have its TGI version in 2018.