Currently reading: Seat Ateca SUV to kick-start new model offensive
Facelifted Seat Leon, new Seat Ibiza, baby Seat SUV and possibly seven-seat Seat SUV to follow

The Seat Ateca SUV is the first of four new models to be launched by the firm in the next two years, Autocar has learned.

The Ateca will be followed by a facelifted Seat Leon range later this year, and then next year an all-new Seat Ibiza and soon after a compact SUV based on that car.

Seat Ateca X-Perience arrives in Paris 

Autocar understands that the facelifted Leon will highlight a more grown-up look for the range. Work has also been done on refinement, and more technology and convenience options will been added.

The Ibiza that will follow in 2017 will be an all-new car, and the first to be based on the VW Group's MQB A0 platform. It will be a bolder looking car with improved quality, refinement and detailing. It will then spawn an SUV model, which will go head to head with the Nissan Juke.

Without confirming specifics about the models, design boss Alejandro Mesonero Romanos revealed that each new Seat would move the firm's design language up another step. However, he also said that even after the launch of the four new cars he would consider Seat to be in "phase one" of its rebuilding process.

He also ruled out the possibility of coupe-styled SUVs for Seat, saying they would not be practical enough. However he said that a larger, seven-seat SUV previewed by the 20V20 concept stood a favourable chance of making production by the end of the decade.

"To me that car is the top of phase one, phase two will be something else..." he told Autocar.

There are also no plans to bring back a large saloon to the Seat range after the demise of the Audi A4-based ExeoMesonero Romanos said this is because the market is now demanding SUVs rather than saloons. "It's not a question of not liking saloons, it's that we have priorities," he said.

Meanwhile, Seat boss Luca De Meo said that at the end of the model offensive Seat should be sustainably profitable, adding that the Ateca was a "major step" towards this. He added that SUVs were important in growing brand awareness according to Seat's research, and said the Ateca would be "a key challenge and opportunity" in helping boost Seat's image. De Meo also highlighted that "the perception of Seat outside the company is very different to the strength we see inside".

However, De Meo conceded that the VW Group emissions scandal had "obviously not been a good thing" for Seat. However, he added: "It has promoted a reaction of pride in our company, and a determination to do things better. It's an opportunity."

De Meo added that there were no imminent plans to launch electric cars or hybrids but said it would happen within the next five-six years. He also stressed that he wanted to avoid badge-engineering models in core segments in future, and said badge-engineered models like the Mii and Toledo were "not helpful for building the brand".

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De Meo also reported sales growth for Seat in 2015. Although sales dropped in the UK, sales worldwide increase to 400,000 cars, the best figures since 2007. Germany is the top market for Seat, where it sold 87,800 cars last year, up 3.8% year on year.

The Martorell factory where most Seats are built alongside the Audi Q3 produced 477,000 cars last year, an 8% rise year-on-year and 60% up on 2009, when just 301,000 models were produced.


Mark Tisshaw

Title: Editor

Mark is a journalist with more than a decade of top-level experience in the automotive industry. He first joined Autocar in 2009, having previously worked in local newspapers. He has held several roles at Autocar, including news editor, deputy editor, digital editor and his current position of editor, one he has held since 2017.

From this position he oversees all of Autocar’s content across the print magazine, website, social media, video, and podcast channels, as well as our recent launch, Autocar Business. Mark regularly interviews the very top global executives in the automotive industry, telling their stories and holding them to account, meeting them at shows and events around the world.

Mark is a Car of the Year juror, a prestigious annual award that Autocar is one of the main sponsors of. He has made media appearances on the likes of the BBC, and contributed to titles including What Car?Move Electric and Pistonheads, and has written a column for The Sun.

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Mister-Auto 11 February 2016

... Not bad, hey !

Not bad, man... Not bad at all ! Not a great fan of Seat, however this one is awesome ! It's good that Seat got back on track and increased its sales. Now more competition is coming up. I'm looking forward to see how other groups respond now.
AndyT 10 February 2016

"The Martorell factory where

"The Martorell factory where all Seats are built.."
Erm, apart from the Mii which is built in Slovakia, the Toledo in the Czech Republic and the Alhambra in Portugal. Sloppy, Autocar!