Seat - The foundation for Cupra

After a major product offensive, the Spanish VW subsidiary is shifting down a gear - and is initially processing a huge order volume. New models can be expected in two years at the earliest – also for Cupra.

If you browse with the search terms “future” and “SeatA bit of browsing on the internet, one could quickly come to the conclusion that Volkswagen would soon be retiring its Spanish subsidiary – for the benefit of Cupra. In the first four years since it was founded, the young brand had a performance that exceeded all expectations, both in the industry and internally. Cupra now sells more vehicles in Germany, the Spaniards' strongest sales market in Europe, than Seat itself .

The bestseller in the Spaniards' portfolio is no longer the Leon, but the Cupra Formentor, a chic and high-margin sports SUV and Cupra's first independently developed model. Seat also got nothing when it came to e-mobility based on the MEB group architecture. That was originally planned differently. In 2019, the study was still called Seat el Born. Then it was decided to convert Cupra into an electric brand and at the end of last year the Cupra Born was introduced, the sporty counterpart to the VW ID.3.

No downsides to Cupra's success

But contrary to some assumptions and rumours: According to Bernhard Bauer, Managing Director of Seat Germany, the success of Cupra is not at the expense of its original brand. “We are a company with two brands. If Cupra is doing well, Seat is doing well too," says Bauer, adding: "Seat is the foundation for Cupra."  

Nobody in the company grieves that there will be neither facelifts nor completely new models from Seat, at least this year and next. The dealers have their hands full processing the huge mountain of orders. For Germany alone it is in the high five-digit range. Even for the Alhambra, Seat is still registering good demand, although the van segment is generally declining sharply. The production of the Alhambra was therefore recently extended until the end of 2023. So far, no decision has been made as to whether an offshoot of the ID.Buzz will succeed the Alhambra. "Everyone would like to have such an electric vehicle in their portfolio," says Seat man Bernhard Bauer.

Sportier design for Seat

The next novelty is not on the agenda until 2024, the successor to the Ateca. The SUV should have a much more dynamic design (shark-nose front similar to Cupra Tavascan) and grow noticeably towards the middle class. Debut in the Ateca II will have a plug-in drive. Technically, this is the last evolutionary stage of the group plug-in hybrid, which is currently in the final stage of development at Volkswagen. The target for the electric WLTP range is 80 kilometers. There will not be a fully electric version because the Ateca II is still based on the MQB platform. It can be heard that no new model is said to be placed below the now larger Ateca. The Cupra Formentor fills this gap perfectly, and it also brings in much higher profits.

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The successful Cupra in the test

The first full-electric vehicle under the Seat brand label should then make its debut in 2025. Until then, Seat will continue to run its two current smallest ones, the Ibiza and the Arona. They could be succeeded by a compact EV. Like the Cupra Urban Rebel (name of the study), the VW ID.2 and the corresponding derivative from Skoda, this would be based on a slimmed-down MEB architecture that is currently being developed by Cupra under the name MEB-Entry. Cupra applied for this “job” in Wolfsburg and was awarded the contract.

The production of the small Stromer also goes to Spain. For this purpose, a corresponding production is set up in Martorell, the hometown of Seat. All of this suggests that the Seat brand does have a future, albeit not an all-electric one right away. After all, you also want to be able to serve markets that are still a little behind when it comes to e-mobility - Spain, for example.

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Sea in Cupra