SEAT B-Segment
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Erich SchmidtNo longer content to just pump out hatchbacks and crossover-y little MPVs any more, Spanish VW subsidiary SEAT is getting ready to dip a toe into the highly-competitive D-segment, taking on the likes of the Ford Mondeo and Peugeot 407. That's some pretty stiff competition, but if the sketches SEAT prez Erich Schmidt (above right) released this week are any indication, the larger SEAT's styling is going to be mature and forward-looking while (apparently) shedding some of the brand's overt visual quirkiness along the way.

In fact, the head-on sketch reminds us of the the new Mondeo, with touches of the Jaguar C-XF concept car and the current Aussie-market Ford Falcon thrown in for good measure. That's not a bad thing at all, and as demonstrated by the new Mondeo, styling matters The new car will be offered in sedan and wagon variants, and it'll be built at the company's Martorell plant, when it ultimately bows in 2009.

And now, we wait...

UPDATE: We don't know why the PR refers to the B-Segment. As a commenter points out, the Mondeo, et al are D-Segment competitors in Europe, so we updated the post to reflect that.

[Source: SEAT]
Related Gallery2009 SEAT sedan

PRESS RELEASE:
SEAT TO EXPAND RANGE WITH NEW B-SEGMENT MODEL

SEAT's intention to continue its growth and offer 'auto emoción' in yet more market sectors has been demonstrated once again, with the announcement that it will produce two new models in the B-segment.

The B-segment, still one of Western Europe's largest market sectors with annual sales last year of 1,147,200 (source: AID), includes competitors such as the Ford Mondeo, Peugeot 407 and Toyota Avensis. SEAT S.A. President Erich Schmitt has confirmed that the company will enter into this market in 2009 with two variants: a saloon and an estate.

As with all SEAT models (with the exception of the seven-seat Alhambra, which is manufactured in Portugal), the new models will be built at the Spanish firm's ultra-modern Martorell plant, located close to Barcelona. The company also has a substantial research and development facility at this location – the Martorell Technical Centre – employing around 1,250 highly qualified staff. No other car manufacturer based in Spain has the capacity to design, develop and produce its own vehicles in the country.

Commenting to Spanish media representatives in Martorell, at the announcement of the new models, Erich Schmitt said: 'The assignment of these two new models to the plant in Martorell is an historic step for SEAT. By these means, we enlarge our current product range, which not only gives our clients the possibility to grow with the brand, but also enables us to increase the profitability of our dealer network thanks to the availability of these new models.'