GENEVA -- Volkswagen Group's Seat is touting driving dynamics to give its new Ateca a competitive edge in Europe's highly competitive compact SUV segment.
Seat's r&d boss Matthias Rabe said the Ateca would set new standards in its segment for on-road driving. "We have put together the most dynamic ride possible," he said in a statement released at the Ateca's unveiling at the auto show here on Tuesday.
Ateca prices will start below 20,000 euros in Germany, Seat's biggest market in Europe, Seat CEO Luca de Meo said.
The Ateca is the start of Seat's biggest offensive to date that will include the launch of four new models in the next 18 months, de Meo said without giving details of the models.
Seat is planning a subcompact SUV based on the Ibiza hatchback to be launched as a rival to the Nissan Juke, plus a large SUV to come later, media reports have said.
The Ateca will go on sale this summer as the brand's first SUV.
De Meo said the Ateca will help to boost Seat's image and profitability.
Seat has lost money for years and needs to increase its sales volume to become consistently profitable.
Seat sold 400,037 units last year, its best sales result since 2007. About 90,000 of those sales were in Germany.
The Ateca and the brand's upcoming subcompact SUV will help to boost Seat's volume to almost 500,000 units in 2018, IHS Automotive forecasts.
IHS said that the Ateca's annual sales will peak at 46,000 units in 2017, around a quarter of the number of the segment leader, the Nissan Qashqai, as competition in the segment becomes fiercer.
The Ateca shares VW Group's MQB architecture with the VW Tiguan, Europe’s No. 2-selling compact SUV after the Nissan Qashqai.
The Ateca will be built by Volkswagen Group's Skoda unit in the Czech Republic.