Last year, SUVs were the best selling cars in Europe for the first time.
According to figures from Jato Dynamics, SUV sales grew 24% year-on-year to 3.2 million units and the market share increased 2.7% to 22.5%. In other words, almost one in four cars sold in Europe is an SUV, and it's going up all the time.
So Seat's timing with the launch of its first ever SUV, the Seat Ateca, couldn't be better. It's why the company, one that only really has a presence in Europe, doesn't just speak of one SUV but a future family of them. SUVs, if got right, could finally put Seat on the map.
Seat boss Luca de Meo gave insight at the unveil of the Ateca into just what it means for Seat.
He said SUVs presented an opportunity for "sustainable profitably and success for the Seat brand". He added that they can help make Seat "more relevant, and unavoidable for a big group".
That last point is the most interesting one. In the past it's been too easy to be able to walk past an over- or under-designed Seat and wonder what the brand stood for. But, in a process that started with the new Leon range, Seat has finally started to make more sense, as a brand with stylish but not fussy cars, sophisticated underpinnings, nice, practical interiors, strong dynamics, and good value. Throw all this into an SUV body and the market may finally take more notice. De Meo says he wants Seats to become "unavoidable".