CEO Luca de Meo will announce the name of a future SEAT D-SUV soon

CEO Luca de Meo will announce the name of a future SEAT D-SUV soon

This year, SEAT has finally pleased its paymasters in Wolfsburg. The company might not yet be exactly awash with cash, but the black ink is at last flowing. The Volkswagen Group's belief that its Spanish outpost could be turned around saw the Germans injecting much money and goodwill into SEAT. Crucially, it was put to good use in the form of adding SUVs. More models are on the way.

By the end of October the 400,000 mark was fewer than 5,000 cars away from being reached.

In 2016, SEAT S.A. delivered a record operating profit of 143m euro, thanks in part to its exports. The firm delivered 410,000 vehicles to 80 countries in 2016. This year, the Martorell-based automaker is on course to eclipse that.

At the time of writing (12 December), volumes for November had yet to be announced. By the end of October the 400,000 mark was fewer than 5,000 cars away from being reached. That situation was due to the arrival of various new or additional vehicles, which more than offset the decline of certain aged models.

On 10 November SEAT's vice-president for Sales and Marketing, Wayne Griffiths, told the media, "October was an excellent month and it reflects the positive trend we have been experiencing throughout the whole year. Growth has been very solid, especially thanks to Ibiza, Leon and Ateca, joined now by the new Arona, which we expect will contribute to maintaining our sales momentum. In addition, the sales performance is having a remarkable impact on the market share in most of our main countries. SEAT is currently one of the fastest growing brands in Europe".

Financials for the first three quarters were better than in the prior period of CY2016, with operating profit up by 12.3 per cent to 154 million euro. Similarly, revenue rose by 11.0 percent from 1 January to 30 September, reaching 7.255bn euro.

A segment

The Mii ('me') uses the MHB architecture and is built in Slovakia alongside the Volkswagen up! and Skoda Citigo. This city car went on sale in Spain in late 2011, reaching other European markets in the second quarter of 2012.

Like the up! and the Citigo, the Mii was launched as a three-door hatchback, with a five-door following from mid-2012. The first cars had a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine. There has been one facelift since then and no further changes are expected.

The next Mii is expected to again be manufactured in Slovakia.

The next Mii is expected to again be manufactured in Slovakia. It should be built alongside the successors for the VW up! and Citigo from 2019 although some sources believe all these cars are being delayed until 2020. They should use MHB Evo, an update of the current platform which is front-wheel drive only.

There may also be a model for Audi, although this raises the questions of how the cost of re-engineering the platform for quattro all-wheel drive, and the creation of a bespoke body could be justified. Not to mention model name: A0, A1 or Q1? Would today's A1 become tomorrow's A2? More on this in one of the forthcoming Audi future models features.

B segment

The Ibiza was the first vehicle for the Volkswagen Group's Modular Quer Baukasten (MQB) A0 platform. The fifth generation model was revealed at an event in Spain on 31 January, five weeks ahead of its motor show debut in Geneva. As the ST was dropped from the range of the previous model in 2016, there won't be a new Ibiza estate/wagon.

Production on Line 1 at Martorell commenced in May. SKD assembly at a new plant in Algeria commenced two months later. See below for the potential e-Ibiza.

A facelift is due in 2021 and SE280, the sixth generation Ibiza, in 2024. That car will be one of the first for the MQB A0 Evo architecture.

C segment

Excluding SUVs, SEAT has two models in the Compact segment. One sells well, and the other is the Toledo. Like the larger Skoda Superb, this model looks like a sedan but is a five-door hatchback. Its debut was at the Paris motor show in September 2012. Spain and Portugal were the Toledo's first markets (November 2012), with the rest of Europe, Turkey and Mexico following from early 2013.

They have different bodies, but the Toledo and the European market's Skoda Rapid hatchback are more or less the same car. The latter also had its global debut at the Paris Mondiale de l'Automobile in September 2012. They come down a shared line at Skoda's main plant adjacent to its headquarters in Mlada Boleslav. The platform is the Volkswagen Group's A05 architecture from the SEAT Ibiza (SE250), modified with a different rear end.

The Toledo, which has been a slow seller, should be discontinued in mid-2018.

No further updates are expected and the Toledo, which has been a slow seller, should be discontinued in mid-2018.

The current León (Spain and Mexico) / Leon is the car which has really turned around the image and fortunes of SEAT. Now in the last phase of what should be seven years of production, it is nevertheless still selling strongly.

The five-door had its global debut at the Paris motor show in September 2012. It is closely related to the third generation Audi A3 and seventh generation Volkswagen Golf. A three-door body ('Leon SC') was launched at the Geneva motor show in March 2013. This has a shorter wheelbase than the five-door. A wagon ('ST') premiered at the Frankfurt motor show in September 2013.

Two additional variants also made their debuts premiered at the 2013 Frankfurt IAA: the Ecomotive and the TGI. The first of these is a low emissions variant available in all three bodystyles, while the TGI runs on CNG or petrol. SEAT revealed 4Drive versions of the ST at January 2014's Vienna motor show. There are two versions of these all-wheel drive models: a 77kW (105PS) TDI which went on sale from April (2014), followed by a 110kW (150PS) TDI a few months later.

Two replacements for the turbocharged Cupra R had their debuts at March 2014's Geneva motor show. These were the 265PS 2.0-litre turbo Cupra and 280PS 2.0-litre turbo Cupra 280. Each was at first available with the choice of three- or five-doors. These cars went on sale across Europe from March 2014. An ST was then announced in January 2015.

A facelifted Leon range was announced to the media in October 2016. There are also several new engines. The updated cars went on sale from January 2017, with the Cupra SC, Cupra and Cupra ST following one month later. The Cupras are powered by a 300hp version of the Volkswagen Group's 2.0 TSI petrol engine. The ST is the only one of the three Cupras to come with 4Drive all-wheel drive. It also has a DSG gearbox.

A new Cupra R premiered at the Frankfurt IAA in September. Limited to 799 cars, this, the fastest SEAT yet, produces 310PS in manual form or 300PS with a DSG. It is going on sale as of now.

SE380, the next León, will share its MQB A/B Evo architecture with the Golf Mk8.

SE380, the next León, is due to appear in late 2019. It will share its MQB A/B Evo architecture with the next Golf.

MPV

The second generation of what is now SEAT's only MPV, is the twin of the Volkswagen Sharan. The latter had its world premiere at the Geneva motor show in March 2010. The Alhambra went on sale across Europe from August of that year.

A facelifted Alhambra had its global debut at May 2015's Barcelona motor show. This was two months after its twin, the VW Sharan, had been similarly updated at Geneva.

The Alhambra 3 is expected to enter production in 2018, alongside the next VW Sharan. Its world debut might be at the Geneva show. The architecture will be MQB A/B, the same as that of the new VW T-Roc, another model which is made at the Volkswagen Group's Autoeuropa plant. Located in the Portuguese city of Setúbal, this is in the municipality of Palmela. The current Alhambra is already built there but uses the older PQ35 platform.

Crossovers & SUVs

The Arona is SEAT's newest model and an addition to its line-up. This 4,138mm long SUV is closely related to the similarly sized Skoda Karoq.

The Arona, although Ibiza-based, is 79mm longer and 99mm taller than the five-door hatchback.

A rival for the Opel/Vauxhall Mokka X, Peugeot 2008, Renault Captur and others in that class, the Arona can be thought of as an SUV version of the fifth generation Ibiza. It is, however, 79mm longer and 99mm taller than the five-door hatchback. The boot's capacity of 400 litres means the Arona has 108 litres more luggage capacity than the Ibiza.

Following its appearance at a media event in Spain in June, the Arona had its public debut at the Frankfurt IAA, going on sale across Europe a few weeks ago. There should be a facelift in 2021 and a second generation Arona in early 2025.

More of a crossover than an SUV, the Leon X-Perience is in the size class above the Arona. It takes the body of the ST (estate) and gains a suspension lift and some tough-look plastics on its exterior. The X-Perience had its debut at the Paris motor show in October 2014 and was in SEAT showrooms across Europe during the following months (January 2015 for the UK). The replacement is due in 2019.

The Ateca is also in the C segment. This 4,363mm long SUV was announced to the media in February 2016. It has a long history: a three-door SUV concept first premiered at the Frankfurt motor show in September 2007. The IBX concept from March 2011's Geneva motor show followed, and so too did the 20V20, a concept at the 2015 Geneva show.

In March 2014, SEAT confirmed that its first SUV was under development and due for market launch in 2016. No other details were issued at that time. The Ateca had its public debut at the Geneva motor show in March 2016. Deliveries began in August 2016, with both front- and all-wheel drive variants available. The boot has a capacity of 510 litres in standard configuration or 485 litres in versions with all-wheel drive.

An Ateca Cupra is said to be under development and will likely be added to the range during 2018.

A more rugged looking Ateca X-Perience had its public debut at the Paris motor show in September 2016. An Ateca Cupra is said to be under development and will likely be added to the range during 2018.

There is said to be a possibility that SEAT will add a C-SUV-coupé, potentially to be based on this model, in 2020. That would also be when the Ateca is due to receive a mild restyle. The Ateca 2 should go on sale in the third quarter of 2023. Its platform will be MQB A/B Evo.

SEAT will add a 4.5-4.7m long SUV to its model range in 2018. There will be five- and seven-seat variants and these will be rivals for the Peugeot 5008, Land Rover Discovery Sport, Ford Edge, Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe.

Like certain other SEAT models, the SUV will be named after a Spanish city or region. The company held a competition to decide the name, with the winner originally due to be announced in October. The entries were reduced to nine possibilities: Abrera, Alboran, Aran, Aranda, Avila, Donosti, Tarifa, Tarraco and Teide. And then, to four: Alboran, Aranda, Avila or Tarraco. SEAT delayed the final announcement due to the Spanish media's focus on the situation in the company's native Catalonia.

Whatever the name turns out to be, Volkswagen will build all variants of this model in Wolfsburg on the same line as the Tiguan and Tiguan Allspace.

Speaking at the media preview of the Ateca in June, SEAT president Luca de Meo told journalists that he does not see the brand moving into the size territory above the future D segment SUV. The Volkswagen Group may of course change these instructions for its Spanish division in the coming years, depending on market trends and SEAT's own profitability.

There is said to be a possibility that a D-SUV-coupé, potentially to be based on this model, will be released in 2020.

Electrified models

The Volkswagen e-up! has not been a big seller but still, the group is said to be planning a successor. A lower price and longer range could do wonders for this car's sales potential. SEAT may be given its own version of the second generation car - at the moment, only the Volkswagen is available in electric form. 

Should there be an e-Mii, this would likely go on sale during 2020, some 12-18 months after the arrival of the combustion-engined car. SEAT revealed a concept version of the existing Mii, powered by batteries, at an event in Barcelona in February 2017.

SEAT may add an electric Ibiza in 2021. One year later a plug-in Arona should go on sale.

In the B segment, an electric Ibiza will likely appear 2021. This would be timed to coincide with a mid-cycle facelift for Ibizas which are powered by combustion engines. One year later a plug-in Arona should go on sale.

SEAT's first fully electric production model will enter production in 2020, the company announced at the media debut of the Arona SUV in June. Speaking at the event in Barcelona, the firm's head of R&D said the vehicle will be based on the Volkswagen Group's MEB architecture. It will be "a family vehicle" and have a range of around 500km. No production location was stated.

SEAT announced a plug-in hybrid prototype variant, the León Cenit Verde (Green Zenith) in June 2013. The firm stated at the time that it had no plans to put such a model into production, however. The Cenit Verde was powered by the combination of a 122PS 1.4 TSI petrol engine and a 102PS electric motor. That will not be the end of the story though.

Another C segment electrified model is said to be under development at Martorell. This will be a plug-in hybrid León. To be part of the next generation model range, its debut should be in 2019. This car will be the twin of the successor for the Golf GTE.

Future model plan reports for other manufacturers can be viewed in the OEM product strategy summaries section of just-auto.com.

Future product program intelligence

Additional data on vehicle lifetime and future product plans, such as code names, production plants and expected annual build, are available in PLDB from QUBE.

The next division of the Volkswagen Group to be looked at in this series will be Škoda Auto.