Last week MSN Cars went to visit SEAT at its major base of ope­ra­tions – the Mar­tor­ell fac­to­ry in Spa­in. Here we spoke to CEO Juer­gen Stack­mann and exe­cu­tive vice pres­ident for rese­arch and design Dr. Matt­hi­as Rabe abo­ut the brand’s futu­re model plans.

Chi­ef amongst the­se plans is SEAT’s desi­re to build an SUV – fol­lo­wing on from the Tri­bu con­cept of 2007 (pic­tu­red abo­ve), this much tou­ted pro­ject has suf­fe­red nume­rous delays and pro­duc­ti­on ‘fre­e­zes’ and still isn’t sign­ed off at this stage. But we were shown a brand new full-scale model during our visit, comp­le­ted just two weeks ago.
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See pic­tu­res of SEAT SUV pro­totypes New 2014 Nis­san Qash­qai reve­aled in pic­tu­res Along­si­de the SUV, we were also shown pre­view vers­ions of the SEAT Leon Cup­ra five-door hot hatch that will debut at the Gene­va Motor Show 2014, and the SEAT Lean ST X-perience, an off-road ori­en­ta­ted vers­ion of the Leon est­a­te that will debut at the Paris Motor Show 2014.

Sadly, such was the hush-hush natu­re of the mee­ting we weren’t allow to take any pic­tu­res – but we can report what we were shown and told, and you can expect to see the first deta­ils of the new cars in the new year.

Is SEAT going to build an SUV? It’s clear that SEAT really, really wants to build an SUV. Stack­mann and Rabe beli­eve that a 4x4 is a per­fect fit for the com­pany, and will help drive its expan­si­on. SEAT is alre­ady the most youth­ful brand in the Volks­wa­gen Gro­up port­fo­lio, and a fun-to-drive off-roader would only enhance this image.

Howe­ver, it is also clear that at this stage the SEAT SUV pro­ject still hasn’t been given the green light – tho­ugh a deci­si­on is immi­nent. What will the SEAT SUV be called?

There’s no word on an offi­ci­al name for the SEAT SUV yet, which is hardly sur­pri­sing given that the pro­ject is still in lim­bo at pre­sent. The two-week-old full-size sty­ling model shown to us was label­led Tri­bu and SE376 (an inter­nal refe­ren­ce desig­na­ti­on), with PR2 W50 in smal­ler text.

But we are assu­red it won’t be called the Tri­bu in pro­duc­ti­on, and in truth the model looks clos­er (tho­ugh now­he­re near iden­ti­cal) to the IBX con­cept of 2011, rat­her than the Tri­bu of 2007. Nor will it make any kind of refe­ren­ce to the Leon name, even tho­ugh the off-roader will be bas­ed on the same underly­ing VW Gro­up ‘MQB’ plat­form as the

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