Seat as a car brand is to be wound down, with Cupra taking over as the proprietor of the marque’s current most-popular models.
The news broken by Autocar comes as a shock, though the reasoning is sound. Cupra is a rapidly-growing brand – Europe’s fastest – while Seat is known to be one of the Volkswagen Group’s less profitable properties in its current form.
The eventual plan is for lesser-selling models and those with slim margins to be phased out, while more popular and profitable cars will be moved under Cupra entirely. Seat Chairman and Volkswagen CEO Thomas Schäfer told Autocar that investment in Cupra is to “ramp up” as this realignment progresses.
So what’s the future of the Seat name? It’s not going to be entirely mothballed, with Schäfer saying the plan is to “find a different role for it”. That role is expected to be in the broader mobility space. That’s not so surprising, given Seat has previous in this arena with its Mo. electric scooter.
What’s next for Cupra?
As for what’s to come from Cupra? Production versions of the Tavascan and Urban Rebel concepts are on the way, to join the enormously successful Formentor and the Born EV in the range. Even the crazy DarkRebel concept could potentially spawn a high-performance halo sportscar.
While the Tavascan is imminent, the Urban Rebel is expected to debut shortly after 2025’s Volkswagen ID.2, riding on the same platform and operating in the same segment. It follows then that it will in part function as a replacement for the Seat Ibiza, which is expected not to get a direct successor.
Both the ID.2 and the Urban Rebel are due to be produced in Spain at Seat’s Martorell facility, which speaks to the VW Group’s continued commitment to and investment in Spanish infrastructure. In short, while a long-standing Spanish name is being sidelined, the Spanish car industry will continue. If anything, it’s set to engorge, following VW’s investment in a new €10billion Valencian gigafactory.