MADRID -- Seat will end production of the Cordoba, the sedan version of its Ibiza small car, when the new Ibiza arrives in 2008.
Seat is dropping the Cordoba, one of the few sedan small-car derivatives, because of slow sales. In the first six months of this year Seat sold 19,944 Cordobas, down 14.9 percent from the same period last year.
"Customers are leaving traditional sedan derivatives, and are turning to modular vehicles," said Ricardo Conesa, a Madrid-based consultant at Urban Science.
The next Ibiza will share the Volkswagen group's Modular AO platform with the next-generation VW Polo and Skoda Fabia. The new Ibiza will be built at Seat's plant in Martorell, Spain, near Barcelona.
Seat has dropped the four-door sedan version of its new Toledo, which enters production in Martorell next month, in favor of a five-door Toledo, which will have a separate luggage compartment similar to that on the Renault Vel Satis minivan.
Seat President Andreas Schleef says: "With the Cordoba and the Toledo, we have 80 percent of sedan sales" in their segments, which are dominated by hatchbacks.
But Schleef says he knows demand for small sedans is decreasing and "to be competitive we have to offer something different."
Automakers offering sedan derivatives of small cars include Renault (Clio), Ford (Fiesta) and VW (Polo).
These sedan derivatives are popular in markets such as Turkey, South America and Central America.
Seat is considering building a small minivan instead of the Cordoba. The small minivan would replace Seat's Arosa. Arosa production will end in September to make way for the new Toledo, which is based on the new Altea medium minivan.