Volkswagen-owned Seat has decided to stop producing its Altea and Altea XL compact minivans because the carmaker is looking to add an SUV series to its lineup.
The production of the minivan will end with plans of introducing the new SUVs starting next year.
A spokeswoman for Seat stated for Automotive News Europe that “Starting from 2016, we will offer a compact SUV as an attractive alternative.” The Altea model was first launched in 2004, and the XL version came onto the market two years later.
In the first half of this year, Seat sold 10,544 Altea units in Europe, scoring a 9.5% growth, according to market researcher JATO dynamics. However, in comparison, the segment leader Renault Scenic/ Grand Scenic, had 62,508 new registrations in the same amount of time.
The Spanish carmaker is looking to launch a family of SUVs of different sizes to benefit from this model’s recent popularity, which has earned bigger margins than hatchbacks car models. The new compact SUV will be based on VW Group’s MQB architecture that will also support the new generation of Volkswagen Tiguans. The Seat SUV will be built in Kvasiny, Czech Republic, by no automaker other than its sister brand, Skoda.
Seat’s plans are not stopping here though. The company wants to add a subcompact crossover to its lineup in 2017 and also launch a bigger SUV in 2020 that will be based on the 20V20 Concept shown at the Geneva Auto Show this March.
IHS Automotive predicts that SUV sales will reach more than 2 million units sold by 2020, after the compact SUV segment started going up since 2006 when it stood below 500,000 cars to 1.56 million cars bought last year.
Seat Altea – Key factors to know
- designed by Walter de Silva
- introduced in 2004
- Altea XL presented during the 2006 Paris Motor Show
- 2007 – Altea Freeback with 4WD introduced
- 31,223 Alteas sold in year 1
- Based on VW’s A5 (PQ35) platform
- Safety: 5 starts during EuroNcap tests in 2004
- 208 bhp – the most powerful model – equipped with a 2.0 TSI engine
By Gabriela Florea