CAR interviews Amin Sadek, Seat’s senior designer: where VW’s Spanish outpost goes next

Published: 06 May 2015 Updated: 06 May 2015

► We interview Seat’s senior designer 
► Amin Sadek on the Spanish philosophy
► ‘No hybrids for Seat’, but SUVs soon

Seat is going to continue with its family look for the foreseeable future as it beds in the new range of crossovers to broaden the appeal of the Spanish car maker.

We recently caught up with Amin Sadek, senior exterior designer, who explained how Seat would style its SUVs, revealed there would be no Seat-badged hybrids for at least three years and explained why the Leon was better than its Golf cousin.

Seat’s financial results are no longer mired in red ink, as Volkswagen’s Spanish outpost has returned to profitability with a slew of new models and aggressive sales and marketing tactics to find the right buyers in greater volumes. It hopes the large and small SUV coming by the end of the decade will fuel further growth.

Read on for our full interview with crayon-in-chief Sadek. And click here for a guided walkaround of the Seat 20V20 concept car.

CAR: Tell us where Seat design is at. What’s the big idea?

Sadek: ‘We are using three main words: tensional, sculptural and characterful. Those three words define our future design DNA. For example, we have a lot of tension in the lines and graphics on our cars, as well as the silhouette. We’re trying to make them very dynamic. When you see the front of the car you should see a very distinctive attitude – it stands by itself, it’s proud. This isn’t a new thing; we have been evolving and delivering that message for some time now. We need a family look – we need to deliver a brand message that’s not contradictory, it’s constant. That’s very important for a uniform style and recognition on the street.’

Seat 20V20 in side profile: meet the new 2016 SUV

What can we expect of the new Seat SUVs coming in 2016?

‘I have worked on the 20V20 concept car… Seat is joining the SUV market. The DNA of our SUV is the same as the other cars – it has to be a Seat. But the challenge is that with an SUV you need to convey elegance, off-road ability and a part of sportiness. That combination is more of a challenge. It’s important to recognise ours is not just an off-road car.’

It seems the Seat range will become more diverse. Is your design team busier than ever?

‘Our design output is the same, or perhaps even a little bit more than the last few years. I wouldn’t say things are changing too much really. It’s still very busy!’

What’s Seat’s plan for alternatively fuelled cars? You must be preparing hybrid modules available in the MQB platforms?

‘It’s not planned for Seat, only for Audi and VW. At the moment there is nothing planned for us [for the next 2-3 years]. We are internally developing electric components but not for our range at the moment. I think that once the electrification market is better established, we will decide.’

The clever-clogs flexible MQB platform that can accommodate so many different VW group cars

Is the modular platform strategy working for Seat?

‘Every day we are learning how to work with MQB. With the CAD software nowadays it’s easier to check if our design is working or not, then adapting it to the package. It allows us to have a good opportunity to design with more freedom.’

Are your cars designed in Wolfsburg or Martorell?

‘Seat design is made in Spain. We are prod to be the only brand designing and building the cars in Spain. Yes, we have reviews and inputs from elsewhere in the group, but the design is 100% made in Spain.’

Why would anyone buy a Leon over a Golf?

‘The main thing is the design, because the Leon is a totally different design from the Golf. The personality is totally different. The values of the Leon and Golf are different – there’s a distinct customer for each car. Being part of the VW Group, the brands need to be differentiated and have their own customers. We hope they have different characters.’

Tell us about your favourite car…

‘I love the DeLorean; it’s a one-off production car. But, really, I’m an ’80s boy – I’m in love with the Lamborghini Countach!’

Amin Sadek's favourite car: the 1980s Lambo Countach

By Tim Pollard

Group digital editorial director, car news magnet, crafter of words