Seat claims the bold experiment,which will have other car-makers watching closely, is a response to changing consumer habits and fits with the way younger motorists buy cars.
The company’s “Easy Move” program applies to its Ibiza and Leon small hatchbacks, and SUVs Arona and Ateca that have three trim levels – SE, Xcellence and FR. Seat will add SE Technology, Xcellence Lux and FR Sport that bundle additional features.
Three other models – Mii city car, Alhambra people mover and Toledo sedan – are more simplified, having no bundled trim versions and even come standard with metallic paint.
In an article in Automotive Management, Seat UK director Richard Harrison said: “Everyone used to think that having loads of choice was a good thing, but 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,” he said.
“We have built ‘Easy Move’ by looking at what options customers want and bundling them into neat packages that are really logical to understand.
“We talked with the dealers about their experiences selling Arona using Easy Move and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive.”
Though not mentioned by Seat, removing options reduces the complexity of the new WLTP fuel economy measurement system – where individual options such as larger wheels can change the CO2 output of a car – and its effects on the taxation of cars based on emissions and fuel consumption.
Seat is the fastest-growing volume car brand in the UK, with half-year sales up 22 per cent.
By Neil Dowling