Has SEAT Brand Been Parked?

Tue 14th Jun 2022

Amongst all the excitement of this week’s CUPRA brand announcements, it has not gone unnoticed that the supposed big brother of the relationship, SEAT, does not appear to be making any noises at all, either now or in the future.

CUPRA announced not one but three new vehicles in a typically Spanish reveal in Barcelona, they also took the opportunity to announce a new look for the Born hatchback, the Leon and the Formentor.

Industry analysts have been left wondering about the SEAT plans, because while Wayne Griffiths, CEO of both SEAT and CUPRA has promised an EV for SEAT, the only reveals in the past two years has been for facelifted versions of the Ateca, Arona and Leon.

But speaking to AutoExpress at the showcase last week, the company’s head of Research and Development hinted that the development of an EV might be currently too costly to pursue for SEAT.

“For the SEAT brand we have just launched the Leon as a completely new car and we have just updated the Ibiza and the Arona,” said Dr. Werner Tietz, R&D boss.

“So now it is time for Cupra and also to electrify Cupra. For now, the electrification is still a little bit expensive [for SEAT] so we think we have to concentrate on Cupra now.”

“When we think the prices for the components are going down, batteries are cheaper, ‘e-machines’ are cheaper, then we can consider to talk about SEAT again.”

While it is understood that CUPRA is the premium-level brand in the partnership, another company exec has admitted that the two brands share very little in common, not even a customer base.

“We want to have a different brand that goes to a different kind of person,” Jorge Diez, Cupra design director told AutoExpress . “The [car’s] faces are totally different so we want to separate the brands as much as possible, because it’s going for different people. And this is the task of the new models. In the beginning we had certain commonalities, in the future the body, the size and everything. Completely different.”