With Spain gripped by Catalonia crisis, VW’s Seat delays naming new model

FILE PHOTO - A logo of Spanish carmaker SEAT, part of the Volkswagen Group, is seen during a news conference in Barcelona, Spain June 1, 2017. REUTERS/Albert Gea

With the Spanish media focussed on the political crisis over Catalonia, Volkswagen’s <VOWG_p.DE> Spanish division Seat has decided to delay announcing the name of its forthcoming model.

Seat, based in Martorell in Catalonia, had planned to announce the name of its 2018 sport-utility vehicle (SUV) this month, about a year ahead of the 7-seat model’s launch.

But the carmaker, which earlier this month halted production at the Martorell plant after parts supplies were disrupted by protests in Catalonia, said on Tuesday it would disclose the name of the car at a later time.

“With the entire Spanish media focussed on politics at the moment, we have decided to find a better time,” a spokesman for Seat said.

Seat has also delayed the announcement of an agreement it has signed with a Spanish industry association on innovation and digitisation, he said, without elaborating.

However, preparations for selling and building the vehicle, which is due to be made at Volkswagen’s (VW) Wolfsburg base in Germany, will not be affected by the delay, the spokesman said.

Similarly, the presentation of Seat’s new Arona SUV to the international trade press in Barcelona is proceeding as planned and will run for another week, he said.

Seat, acquired by VW in 1986, returned to profit last year for the first time in about a decade, helped by strong sales of the Ateca, its first crossover model.

The 2018 SUV, its third such model in as many years, will play a key role in the brand’s strategy to build on its recovery, chief executive Luca de Meo has said.

(Reporting by Andreas Cremer; Editing by Mark Potter)

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