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Undies name too hot for VW

by CAR magazine on 14/05/2003

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The Volkswagen Group has decided that the production version of the Seat Tango will not be called the Tanga, after the sensuous – some might say titillating – rear view of the roadster.

The Volkswagen Group has decided that the production version of the Seat Tango will not be called the Tanga, after the sensuous – some might say titillating – rear view of the roadster.

When VW’s management decided to put the concept car, which was revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show last year, it was expected that the roadster would be named after the style of female underwear.

Steve Lewis, Seat’s new chief of exterior design, said: “We initially called it Tanga because from the rear, the car looks like it is wearing a pair of these pants.” However, bosses at VW didn’t dare to use the provocative title, so the last letter was changed from an ‘a’ to an ‘o’ – naming it instead after the Latin dance.

The radical two-seater was the brainchild of Volkswagen Group chief executive Bernd Pischetsrieder.

Designed to sit below the likes of Mazda’s MX-5 and the MG TF in the growing soft-top market, the Tango is based on a cut-down version of the Ibiza platform, is more compact than a Toyota MR2 and similar in size to the forthcoming MCC Smart Roadster.

But the Seat Tango will have to be more practical if it is to get the production go-ahead. While the flip-top buttresses, detachable seats, milled alloy switchgear surrounds and slide-out luggage tray fitted to the concept car were clever ideas, the road-going version was likely to be more Spartan when it finally goes into production in 2004.