Volkswagen Group Spanish subsidiary Seat plans to launch a subcompact SUV/crossover by the end of 2017 as part of its effort to be sustainably profitable, a company source said.
Few details are known about the model but it is expected to be underpinned by parent Volkswagen Group's MQB architecture. Seat's recently face-lifted Ibiza subcompact hatchback is based on the group's older PQ26 platform.
Seat plans a family of different sized SUVs to profit from the popularity of such models, which earn higher margins than hatchbacks. The brand’s first SUV, a compact-sized model, will go on sale next year. A midsize SUV could go on sale by 2020 based on the the 20V20 concept unveiled at the Geneva auto show in March.
Seat CEO Juergen Stackmann told Automotive News Europe in an interview published earlier this month that launching a small crossover was on his to-do list: "It's our next priority since crossovers are the trend," he said.
Stackmann said the there is no final decision and no fixed timetable for the small SUV's launch but a company source said it could come within two years. "Next year the compact SUV hits markets and a year later you can expect to see the smaller SUV," the source said.
The SUV would compete with the Renault Captur, the segment's top-seller in Europe, along with newly launched entries such as the Fiat 500X.
IHS Automotive forecasts that Seat will sell 43,000 of the small SUV in 2018, its first full year of sales.