Ever since Seat unveiled the IBX Concept in 2011 (pictured), there has been talk of bringing it to production. At this year’s Geneva Motor Show, Seat chairman Jurgen Stackmann stated that a final decision regarding the SUV is approaching. Stackmann said a crossover is “almost tailor-made” for the Spanish carmaker and would fit very well with the brand’s image.
“We know with the success of Leon what this car should look like,” Stackmann said, adding that a final decision on production hasn’t been made yet but it’s not far off. We have to make sure it is profitable and sustainable – it’s a big decision for investment.”
However, Stackmann said adding new models to a brand portfolio doesn’t necessarily guarantee more sales.
“There is a lot of potential in maximising what we already have – there is plenty of choice there already,” the executive explained. A downside to adding more models in Stackmann’s view is that customers would “drop one and buy one,” while adding complexity to the range made it more difficult for sales staff. “The dealer network is underestimated in the industry. Get it right and you sell more cars,” Stackmann said.
He also talked about Seat’s newest product, the latest generation Leon, which in his opinion has helped Seat better define itself. “Leon has made our brand definition much clearer. It shows what we can do with German engineering and Spanish design and lust for innovation,” he said.
Seat sales rose 11 percent last year to 355,000 units, but they are still significantly short of VW’s target of 500,000 sales a year by 2018. The brand saw its biggest sales growth last year in Germany and UK, with 20 percent and 17 percent, respectively.
By Dan Mihalascu