• 30-SEP-2014

  • SOURCE: SEAT

Fathers of the Ibiza, Together for the First Time

"It was a long, complex process", recalls Giorgetto Giugiaro, creator of the first SEAT Ibiza in 1984, a car that would eventually become the company's most charismatic, best-selling model. Sketches and protractor in hand, the Italian designer reminisces about those years when the aim was to be leader in the segment by developing "a distinctly different product, never before created by the brand". And the reasons for success? "The car's proportions, the simplicity of its architecture together with its elegantly sporty look", says Giugiaro.

For the company, the SEAT Ibiza was the first step towards the production of home-grown models, the reason why the vehicle's design aimed at "a personality" which could be applied to future models, adds Giugiaro. The second generation of the Ibiza, also bearing the same designer's hallmark, harnessed the latest technological developments and brought in "more rounded forms", but without losing the quintessential elements of the first generation.

The third generation of the Ibiza saw the light of day in 2002, eighteen years after the first, at the hands of the current Volkswagen Group Head of Design Walter de Silva. De Silva, who introduced a more attractive design, marked by agility, does not hesitate to declare that the Ibiza "represents the heart of the brand". Each succeeding generation is the result of "progressive design", and he regards the Ibiza as responding to "the desire of many young people of having a car that is both sporty and functional".

Luc Donckerwolke, who launched the fourth generation of the car in 2008, is of much the same opinion. The former Head of Design at SEAT believes that the success of this car rests on the values "all young people want to identify with". The model strikes "the right balance" between design and the values of being "rebellious, innovative and dynamic", so typical of young people, he adds.

And the current Head of Design at SEAT, Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos was one of those young people when, at the age of 18, he got his first car – a SEAT Ibiza. "At that time I was beginning to study design, and for me the Ibiza was synonymous with modernity. A car designed by Giugiaro with an engine developed by Porsche, and built in Barcelona, my favourite city. That was a combination that captivated me immediately", says the designer.

By a quirk of fate he has been tasked with designed a special edition of the Ibiza for its 30th anniversary. So he has chosen a three-door model in Balea grey, a tone that is "sophisticated. And to increase its sportiness, we have combined it with black for the wheels and the stitching as well as other interior elements", he explains. Mesonero-Romanos believes that this car's secret for success "is in its own DNA: it has just the right amount of sportiness without being necessarily aggressive". A car that makes its presence felt, that has character. For this designer, the Ibiza is for someone who "does not want to sacrifice functionality, but for whom image and design are aspects of the highest order".

These four designers are the fathers of the SEAT Ibiza, and are now getting together to celebrate its 30th anniversary. "Few car companies can look back and boast such a long history" of a car, says de Silva. "It is an immense pleasure to be able to congratulate a product that is 30 years old", adds Giugiaro tenderly. His brainchild has now come of age.