Spanish car maker Seat, an arm of the wider Volkswagen Group, has unveiled its all-new Ateca SUV this week ahead of a debut at next month’s Geneva motor show.
The Seat brand departed the Australian market a long time ago, but its fortunes in Europe and elsewhere have grown in the time since and the past three years have seen its sales increase by 25 per cent.
The Ateca, Seat’s first-ever SUV, should help to push that improvement even further, with sales in the segment showing no sign of slowing down.
As with many new Volkswagen Group models, the Ateca is built on the new MQB platform, sharing a number of components with and - at 2.64m - featuring a similar wheelbase to the new Volkswagen Tiguan.
The Ateca range will hit Europe in September, with power provided by a range of 1.0- and 1.4-litre petrol, and 1.6- and 2.0-litre diesel engines. Six-speed manual and seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmissions will be offered.
Seat is not officially scheduled for a return to the Australian market, and indeed it could prove tricky to position alongside Skoda. In Europe, Seat is set apart by a focus on edgy styling and a sporty image, while Skoda, even with its niche RS variants, is seen as a more practical brand.
The car maker does have Australia on its roadmap, however, with Seat CEO Juergen Stackmann telling CarAdvice in 2014 that returning to our market is a long-term goal.
“We are investigating and analysing opportunities in China, and once we’re in the region obviously we’ll look into Australia as well,” he said.
Stackmann pointed to the (at the time unnamed) Ateca’s debut as a potential window for an Australian launch, but the car maker has yet announce plans.
Watch this space.