The Ibiza has great symbolic value for Spain’s Seat brand. The original model designed by Giorgietto Giugiaro in 1984 now reaches its third generation. It remains the cornerstone of the brand, and the standard bearer of Seat’s new look. The new Ibiza has clearly borrowed from the Salsa concept car unveiled at the Bologna Motor Show in December by Seat’s Chairman Bernd Pischetsrieder and its director of design Walter de’ Silva.

The Salsa influence is evident at the front in the small trapezoid radiator grille from which spread the ribs that reinforce the bonnet. On the other hand, the “face” created by the lighting clusters and underlined by the air intakes on the front of the new Ibiza is much more forceful, not to say aggressive. One of the new Ibiza’s more successfully “emerging” design features is the horizontal “muscle” that runs down the rear wing half way between the waistline and the wheelarch.

Like all the cars designed under the aegis of Walter de’ Silva the new Ibiza is a demonstration of formal restraint. “What I like to see on the road is a harmonious whole on which front, rear and sides all sit well together”, explains de’ Silva with his usual enthusiasm. “And this car looks compact despite being nearly 4 metres long”.

The early design work on the interior was conducted at the European Design Centre (the VW Group’s Advanced Design Centre). One man who was working there at the time was Carsten Monnerjan, now a key figure in the Seat interior design operation. The body design on the other hand is largely the work of Steve Lewis. For the final colour and trim touches, Seat turned to Simona Falcinella, manager of the Colours and Materials Department.

The article continues in Auto & Design no. 132

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