If you surf the web with the search terms “future” and “seat”, you can quickly come to the conclusion that Volkswagen will soon get rid of its Spanish subsidiary – in favor of the Cupra. In the first four years since its inception, the young brand performed a performance that exceeded all expectations, both in the industry and domestically. Cupra now sells more cars in Germany, Seat’s biggest European sales market, than Seat itself. in the Spanish portfolio is no longer the Seat Leon, but the Cupra Formentor, a chic and high-end sports SUV and the first Cupra model produced independently. Seat also got nothing when it comes to e-mobility based on the MEB group’s architecture. That was originally planned separately. In 2019, the study was still called Seat el Born. Then it was decided to change the Cupra to an electric brand and at the end of last year the Cupra Born was introduced, a sports counterpart to the VW ID.3.
But contrary to some assumptions and rumours: According to Bernhard Bauer, CEO of Seat Germany, the success of Cupra does not come from Seat. “We are a two-brand company. If Cupra is doing well, Seat is doing well too,” says Bauer, adding: “The seat is the basis of Cupra.”
A mountain of great order
No one at the company is upset that there will be no facelifts or brand new models from Seat, at least this year and next. Traders have their hands full processing a huge mountain of orders. Only in Germany is it in the upper five-digit range. Even with the Alhambra, the Seat still registers good demand, although the car’s overall share is decreasing significantly. As a result, the production of the Alhambra was recently extended until the end of 2023. So far, no decision has been made on whether the ID.Buzz offshoot will inherit the Alhambra. “Everyone would like to have such an electric car in their portfolio,” says Seat man Bernhard Bauer.
The next novel is not on the agenda until 2024, the successor to the Ateca. The SUV should have a more dynamic design (a shark-nose front similar to the Cupra Tavascan) and clearly grow towards the middle class. First in the Ateca II will be a plug-in driver. Technically, this is the final step in the evolution of the group’s plug-in hybrid, which is currently in the final stage of development at Volkswagen. The WLTP electric range target is 80 km. There will be no fully electric version because the Ateca II is still based on the MQB system. It can be heard that no new model is said to be placed under the big Ateca now. The Cupra Formentor fills this gap perfectly, and it also brings more benefits.
The first fully electric car under the Seat brand label is then due to enter service in 2025. Until then, Seat will continue to run its two current minivans, the Ibiza and Arona. They can be successful with a compact EV. Like the Cupra Urban Rebel (study name), the VW ID.2 and the Skoda version, this will be based on the reduced MEB architecture currently being developed by Cupra under the name MEB-Entry. Cupra applied for this “job” in Wolfsburg and was awarded the contract. Production of the small Stromer also goes to Spain. For this purpose, a parallel production is established in Martorell, the city of Seat. All this suggests that the Seat brand does not have a future, although it is not immediately electric. 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.