Conspicuously absent from the affordable EV party – or at the very least running fashionably late – is Seat.
Even as the VW Group progresses with plans to build a whole new family of affordable, urban EVs in the brand’s hometown, it has not put its name to a concept or previewed its own take on the formula.
So has Cupra taken its place? In 2021 – only its third full year as a standalone brand – it sold nearly 80,000 cars, accounting for nearly a sixth of Seat’s entire global volume, and the bespoke Cupra Formentor SUV alone accounted for some 55,000 of them – around 2/3 the amount of Seat Leons sold.
This is fast progress indeed, and sure to accelerate further as the Born establishes a global foothold and the brand ushers in four new electrified models in the next three years. Just how long can Seat – which hasn’t launched an all-new car in two years, let alone an EV – maintain its positioning as the Spanish mothership?
Certainly, Seat CEO Wayne Griffiths is optimistic about the future of the company, if not the brand itself. “Our commitment to Cupra is clear,” he said earlier this year. “Cupra is transforming Seat’s position in the market, spearheading its global expansion.
“Cupra is not the end of Seat: it gives Seat a future. The future is electric, and the future is Cupra.”
Certainly, until Seat breaks its silence on bespoke electric cars or at least gives us a clue as to what’s coming next – it looks very much like the sportier Cupra brand will come out in front.