Spain's SEAT has become the little carmaker that could... if only parent Volkswagen would give it a chance. The debut in Frankfurt this week of its sharp new IBL concept marks the brand's third in two years - with no sign of a production announcement.
As SEAT trots out another update to its Exeo medium sedan - a rebadged third-gen Audi A4 - Czech stablemate Skoda is preparing to launch a brand overhaul later this year with the market debut of its MissionL liftback sedan.
The Spanish brand is likely to benefit from similar attention in the near future, with Volkswagen announcing this week that it will invest around $AU83 billion in its global operations over the next five years.
“The Volkswagen Group is investing a record amount in forward-looking projects to achieve its goal of becoming the world’s best automobile manufacturer,” CEO Martin Winterkorn said.
Winterkorn added that the new funds will go toward development of new models across the Volkswagen group's nine brands.
As for the IBL, new SEAT design boss Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos described the concept as a preview of things to come.
"The IBL was created from the unique design DNA that will prevail right across our next vehicle generation," Mesonero-Romanos said at Frankfurt.
"The IBL is certainly more than a saloon; it is the SEAT interpretation of a very sporty four-door. With it, we are also demonstrating that we can apply our elegant dynamics and our youthful character to a full-size vehicle concept, too, making it unique and unmistakable," he added.
Technical details for the IBL have not been revealed, although SEAT has confirmed that the concept rides on a 2710mm wheelbase and measures 4670mm long - around the same size as the current Exeo.
Long absent from the Australian market, SEAT soldiers on in Europe under the auspices of parent company Volkswagen. A return to Australia is unlikely however, with Skoda already warming the seat that SEAT would most likely occupy.