Seat, which recently returned to profitability after years of losses, expects to further strengthen its balance sheet by launching the Ateca into Europe’s booming SUV/crossover market.
"The Ateca is a major part of our new brand strategy for sustaining long-term profitability," Seat CEO Luca de Meo said.
The Volkswagen Group subsidiary hopes the Ateca, its first SUV, will achieve a market share of at least 5 percent in Europe’s compact SUV segment. This would mean annual sales of about 60,000. The segment's volume increased by 14 percent last year compared with 2014 to an all-time high of 1.18 million, according to figures from JATO Dynamics. The Ateca shares its MQB architecture with the VW Tiguan, Europe's No. 2-selling compact SUV after the Nissan Qashqai.
The Ateca offers a high level of connectivity to attract younger customers, who regard this as crucial to their purchasing decision. Its multimedia system -- called Full Link -- is compatible with Apple's CarPlay, Google's Android Auto as well as Mirror Link, which is used by Microsoft Windows-based smartphones.
De Meo sees connectivity as more important to Seat than other megatrends, such as offering expensive electric powertrains and autonomous-driving technology, because the brand's target customers are young and price-sensitive.