Seat is considering whether a new “sports car-like crossover” could become its new flagship model, to launch around 2020.
A third, larger SUV is pencilled into Seat’s future plans, but its exact design and positioning is yet to be determined.
“A crossover – a Porsche Macan kind of concept – could be the emerging kind of model. A model that's a mix between a sports car and an SUV – this is one of the segments we see growing,” said Seat boss Luca de Meo.
Seat’s design chief, Alejandro Mesonero, also said that a bigger SUV than the Ateca is coming at some point, a model that he described as "something different".
The new model would be at the top of a range of three Seat SUVs. Currently, Seat only has the the Qashqai-sized Ateca; later this year the Juke-sized Arona, which is based on the new Ibiza, will arrive.
The new flagship SUV would be additional to the 300bhp Ateca Cupra that Seat is planning.
Seat has ruled out a large saloon as a new flagship, because global sales are falling in this segment. “There is no comparison between the potential of the SUV market bodystyle and the saloon,” said de Meo, speaking at the launch of the new Ibiza in Spain.
The new SUV could be a five-seater or a five-plus-two, where it would complement Seat’s Alhambra seven-seat MPV. “If you give the option [of extra seats] to the owners, why not? Even if there are people who don’t use it,” de Meo said.
Seat is also planning new battery electric and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) models for launch in 2020/21, when the EU's new 95g/km CO2 emissions targets come into force.
Seat’s chief engineer, Matthias Rabe, said the brand's first battery electric would be launched in 2019, followed a year later by a second model - possibly the PHEV. Rabe wouldn’t identify the exact models, but suggested they could be versions of existing electric technology, rather than based on the VW Group's new MEB electric car platform, which Volkswagen's ID concept car is built on.
Another change to Seat’s long-term product plan is to drop the Toledo from its range. Launched in 2012 as a low-cost family hatchback positioned below the Leon, sales have been slow. The Toledo is based on a stretched version of the old Ibiza’s PQ35 platform and is shared with Skoda Rapid and Rapid Spaceback, both of which are also slow-selling.