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I'm in the exact same boat as you with my 2002 New Beetle Turbo S; the desert sun, has destroyed my seats and the leather is splitting, seams coming undone. I actually like my stock sport seats but like you, I don't want to spend allot and in most cases, seems, more then the car is worth. When, I have looked over the upholstery; from what I can tell, it seems, VW really only used leather on, the center contact areas and not on the bolsters and sides.
 

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Got any photos; showing, before and after repairs? Did you remove the covers yourself and pit them back on or have the shop handle things?

I would think remove/install diy; would save allot of $, doing it, that way.
 

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I’ve taken mark iv seats apart and removed covers, to repair failed, heated seat heater elements. Not very hard and i think; many auto upholstery shops would be happy to just work on a removed cover and end up, being much cheaper, compared to having them do everything, by just dropping off a car.
 
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