It’s likely that Seat’s first SUV will go into production by 2015 at the latest, company president James Muir told Autocar. He said that the new SUV will be going up against the Volkswagen Tiguan and Nissan Qashqai. He said that it will be displayed as a preview of a close-to-production concept in two years at a European motor show.
It will start selling in the next three years. The SUV’s appearance will take inspiration from the IBX concept Seat unveiled at the 2011 motor show. Muir said that the concept was designed to illustrate how this new design language would appear on an SUV.
Muir said that the IBX is a concept car but the next Seat SUV concept would be a “production statement of intent” that would encourage people that Seat can be such a car.
He added that Seat will offer an SUV as fast as it could. He said that after the concept comes out in the next couple of years, it will arrive in the market in just a short time.
Muir said that Volkswagen Group chiefs had signed off on the SUV project in principle and that it has planned the investment already. The SUV is expected to reach annual sales of about 100,000 units.
Seat sold a total of 353,000 units in 2011 but this figure could increase from 2013 with an expanded Leon range. Muir thinks that an SUV “is a much better brand fit” for Seat than a four-door saloon.
This statement brings to light some issues on whether the Exeo will get a replacement soon. Included in Muir’s so-called “wish list” is a smaller SUV based on the Mii and a close relationship with a production version of the VW Taigun concept. He said that for now, it’s on a “white cloud” but he is confident that it will be realized.