Work has begun on the fifth-generation Seat Ibiza ahead of an expected launch in 2017.
Until the new model arrives, the current fourth-generation Ibiza – which has been on sale since 2008 – is set to undergo a facelift next year to keep it fresh, with the main changes expected inside.
Company chief Jürgen Stackmann said the new Ibiza was now being "defined". He added: "It needs to be normal enough to be bought by everyone but different enough to stand out in the market."
Seat is this year celebrating 30 years of the Ibiza, and last night assembled key designers of the car from its past – including VW Group design boss Walter de Silva, Bentley design chief Luc Donckerwolke and current design boss Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos – to celebrate the car's past, present and future.
Mesonero-Romanos revealed a sketch showing how the Ibiza's key design themes have evolved, which also hinted at a future styling direction of the car. He said to not expect a smaller clone of the Leon, but themes developed on that car would continue on the Ibiza, perhaps in the LED front light graphic, for example.