Frankfurt Motor Show: SEAT SUV is on UK chief's shopping list
A Nissan Qashqai rival is on the shopping list of SEAT UK chief Peter Whinney – and we wouldn't bet against his chances of bagging one.
Speaking to Autoblog at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Whinney said a 4x4 crossover was a car he thinks would sell extremely well to Seat customers in the UK.
The brand's IBX concept, shown at the Geneva motor show earlier this year, is a good indication of how a SEAT SUV could look, said Whinney – but now he needs to ensure the business case for introducing one stacks up.
"It's a model I'd really like to see a SEAT badge on, but whether we get it or not is a different matter," he explained. "The IBX we showed at Geneva was a beautiful looking compact 4x4. Would I like one? Absolutely. Will I get one? I don't know."
Whinney explained that even with the benefits of platform sharing with the Audi Q3, the cost of doing so could still be prohibitive.
"If the cost base is too high, we wouldn't be able to get the price position that we want," he said. "We can't be in Audi's price bracket. However, I do think customers would buy a car like this.
"If you look at that segment, it is growing and you only have to see how our sister brands and competitors are doing in this market to see that it's an expanding market.
"We've seen our sister brands do very well with models based on this platform – Tiguan and Yeti for example. And it's a sector we've seen competitors take advantage of, but it has to make commercial sense and we have to have the capacity to build it. There are lots of considerations we need to make first."
SEAT's plant already builds the Q3 for Audi, so a Spanish version of the off-roader wouldn't be too difficult to introduce. However, if costs can't be controlled and the price point can't be less than Audi's version it's unlikely it'll get the sign off from VW Group bosses.
Fans of the Spanish car brand will have to cross their fingers and hope the maker can cut the necessary costs to make it viable...