Seat is considering adding a third, larger crossover model to the two it is already developing, the company has confirmed. Speaking at the recent Frankfurt show, Jürgen Stackmann - who was until recently Seat's boss - said: “A D-segment SUV has potential.”
However, the company is focusing on the Leon-based C-segment crossover set to be unveiled at Geneva next year. After that, Stackmann said Seat has “a B-SUV in mind,” for which “the design executions have been done”.
A larger crossover would come after these two if it gets the go-ahead. Seat previewed a D-segment SUV earlier this year with the 20V20 concept at the Geneva motor show.
The SUV's engine line-up would likely mirror that of the Seat Leon range, with a 1.4-litre petrol turbo the entry-level option, and the 1.6-litre turbodiesel the likely best seller. As with its counterparts, the larger Seat crossover is expected to be available in front and four-wheel drive form. It is also expected to be available with seven seats.
Seat is able to consider such a model because it has made its first operating profit since 2008 and, more significant, is to benefit from a five-year investment programme that, at £1.8 billion, is 40% bigger than the previous five-year plan.
“The extra R&D spend is to do work for the [Volkswagen] Group” said Stackmann.
“The biggest portion is for Seat with an aggressive plan to develop that makes sense for the brand.”
By that, Stackmann means investing in the Leon, Ibiza and crossover models, as well as “investment in plant structure to keep them highly productive, and at a high quality level”.
There will also be investment in electrified Seats. “Plug-in hybrids make sense, although Seat will not be a forerunner with electric vehicles,” said Stackmann. “Audi is better placed, because their owners have garages,” he said, suggesting that the brand’s customers are more easily able to recharge a car.
Rumours that Seat would launch a larger SUV first surfaced in February of this year, with the car initially scheduled to arrive before 2018, following Skoda's own seven-seat crossover in 2016.