SEAT and Champion Motors Ltd., the automaker's Israel importer, have announced an agreement to set up an Israel center for car technology. The center, called XPLORA, will house a team of specialists focused on technological innovation projects aimed at the connected car and smart mobility services. The venture will seek out local mobility-related startups and identify innovative projects that could lead to future solutions and business models for the brand.
Speaking in Tel Aviv, SEAT president Luca de Meo said, “Having the opportunity to launch this type of project in Israel, one of our main markets, makes it a strategic location for SEAT. Israel is a benchmark country in innovation, and is considered the ‘startup nation’, so there is no better place to launch an initiative of this kind”.
Champion Motors Prof. Itzhak Swary said, “We are happy to strengthen and deepen the ties between Champion Motors and SEAT. I am sure that our joint activity in the smart mobility market in Israel will yield business opportunities for the Spanish automaker and for the local industry”.
XPLORA, which is headquartered in Tel Aviv, will have an initial team of four professionals, including three members of its Easy Mobility Team, specializing in UX Design, Electric Development and Business Development. Champion Motors Ltd. will assign a Project Manager responsible for coordinating and carrying out the project in its initial stage. The team will scout startups and projects that might be of interest, will select the most outstanding innovations and carry out concept tests in close collaboration with SEAT specialist teams in Martorell. These first steps will be used to analyse the feasibility of pilot testing on a larger scale in Israel and at European level.
With this agreement, SEAT will reach out to the most innovative Israeli startups in auto-tech and harness technological resources and business platforms. Champion Motors, which is seeking to become an active part of its local technological ecosystem growth, will be the link between the country’s startups and the Spanish multinational.
While in Israel de Meo along with SEAT EVP Sales and Marketing, Wayne Griffiths, and EVP R&D Dr. Matthias Rabe attended the Fuel Choices and Smart Mobility Initiative summit held in Tel Aviv and met Economy and Trade Minister Eli Cohen.
Champion Motors set up a similar technology center with Skoda, like SEAT also a subsidiary of Volkswagen, in August. Earlier this week, Hyundai announced it was setting up an Israel R&D center while many other automakers already have major development centers in Israel, the largest of which is run by General Motors.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on November 3, 2017
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