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Analysis: Seat IBX to production and the design challenge

Do we detect some “me-tooism” across the Volkswagen brands? While we liked the Seat IBX Concept when it was revealed at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, we wonder if VW isn’t stacking its models a little, with plans to produce the IBX based on the new Audi Q3.

The savings with such a project are obvious – both models would be produced at the Martorell plant meaning production line economics can be maximised, and the IBX would be the second new model born from the Volkswagen Tiguan.

What we loved about the Seat IBX might be the very thing that disappears in a production version – its edgy design.
The Audi Q3 comes across as just another Audi, but this three-door coupé-crossover could be just what Seat needs to distinguish its crossover from the rest.
Audi can afford this, because it’s an upmarket brand; Seat can’t really allow itself to produce an anonymous crossover, though.
If VW goes conservative on the design though, the IBX will join the growing ranks of crossover models with nothing to set it apart.

We could see this project working if Seat keeps the IBX a little different and markets it at lower price, in which case it could also find a future for itself on the Chinese car market as well, for example.
While reports are that Volkswagen is considering developing a local, low cost brand for the large Asian market, we know that brands like Seat and Skoda are still important to increasing the group’s presence outside of Europe.
And a funky little model like the Seat IBX might also bring some exciting new product to the fore.
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