Demand for the Arona’s larger sibling, the Seat Ateca, outstripped supply when it was launched.
It sold just shy of 23,000 units in Europe in its first year (2016) having only gone on sale in late summer.
It demonstrated that Seat can do far more than just produce another carriage on the MQB train: it can make a genuinely engaging and market-shaking product.
But the Arona needs to repeat that trick and more. It enters an even more fiercely contested and faster-growing class. Just in the past month, we’ve seen new entrants such as the Kia Stonic, Hyundai Kona and Citroën C3 Aircross.
Seat is back in the black, having made a €153 million (£135m) profit in 2016, and 2017 sales were up 13.9% year on year for the period from January to May. But this recent success comes after a decade of losses for the firm, illustrating that there is no excuse to relax. Seats need not only to match rivals but also to better them.
A smaller model sold at a lower price point means smaller profit margins, too, so the Arona will have to work doubly hard to continue Seat’s upward trajectory.