For the first time in about 20 years, Volkswagen’s Wolfsburg plant is producing a model of another group brand – the SEAT Tarraco. The Spanish brand’s flagship SUV uses a long version of the VW Group’s modular MQB platform and rolls off the production line together with the Volkswagen Tiguan SUV and Touran MPV.

The step towards multi-brand production will boost the capacity deployment of Volkswagen’s main plant. The SEAT Tarraco production is part of the “Pact for the Future” concluded by the company and the Works Council at the end of 2016. The pact is a far-reaching timetable for improving the economic viability of the Volkswagen brand and placing the company on a firm footing for the future.

“A competent, globally leading production network across the group is one of the biggest levers for efficiency enhancement. The SEAT Tarraco is an example of the way more plants within the group-wide production network will produce vehicles for several group brands at the same time in the future,” said Dr Andreas Tostmann, Volkswagen member of the board for production and logistics.

Designed in Barcelona by SEAT, the Tarraco – named after the Spanish port city Tarragona – sits above the Ateca and Arona SUVs, and is available in five- or seven-seat form. It hints at the company’s forthcoming design language, with a larger, more prominent six-sided grille. The angular surfacing and upswept D-pillar kink are as on the Ateca, while the rear features full-width LED tail lights.

Measuring 4,735 mm long and 1,658 mm tall, the big SEAT is nearly 40 mm longer and over 20 mm lower than a Honda CR-V. It will be offered with two petrol engines at launch – a 1.5 litre TSI unit with 150 PS, a six-speed manual gearbox and front-wheel drive; and a 190 PS 2.0 TSI paired to a seven-speed DSG and 4Drive all-wheel drive.

This is the fifth time that VW’s main plant has produced a model for another brand. The SEAT Arosa was made here from the end of 1996 until 1998. Wolfsburg also made the Audi 50 from 1974 to 1978, the Audi 80 from 1994 to 1998 and the Audi 100 from 1993 to 1997. The Audi 50 was largely identical to the Polo of the time; both were the first German small cars with transverse engines and front-wheel drive.