Advertisement

The future of Cupra: boss reveals big plans for SEAT’s performance arm

Bespoke models, less power and more separation from SEAT, the action plan for Cupra starts next year

Cupra Tavascan - rear

SEAT boss Luca de Meo has revealed his plans for the new Cupra brand in an exclusive chat with Auto Express. They include new models that will only be Cupras, more powertrains, a new HQ in Barcelona and an evolving brand that aims to be ‘contemporary everyday’.

From next year, CUPRA will move into its own HQ with a new workshop facility. “We’re separating the organisation and picking the right people with the right mindset to work on Cupra,” de Meo told us. 

Advertisement - Article continues below

• New Cupra Tavascan concept previews future halo electric car

“The briefing for Cupra is: ‘Guys, you have the same ingredients from the restaurant that your colleagues have, but you’re not forced to cook spaghetti with tomatoes – you can do whatever you like’.” 

Crucially, the product range will expand, too – not only with new models, but with different power choices broadening the appeal of the brand beyond pure performance.

The Tavascan all-electric SUV revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show is likely to get the green light, with de Meo saying: “We have it in the plan and when we have it in the plan it means we also have the money reserved to do that, but there are lots of things still pending.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

“This is not a concept car it’s a show car – a concept is a concept. This is not a concept, it’s a real car.” 

Need for unique cars and power options 

Before then we’ll see the Formentor crossover, which de Meo hopes will stay as a Cupra only. “We’re going to push as much as we can for being only Cupra – I think it’s a more consistent stance. 

Advertisement - Article continues below

“We have to resist the temptation of playing a dual brand thing. It’s a question of volume and business model, but if it’s successful our idea is that we do that.”

Cupra Tavascan - front 3/4 static Frankfurt

Volume is also key with a Cupra version of the new Leon, and de Meo revealed that we’ll see more engine choices from Cupra across its range. “We’re not going to be able to do the volume we need with 300hp, we need to get access to the models lower,” he said.

“Think about plug-in hybrids, think about electric cars – you’re not going to think about horsepower on those things, it’s a different game. 

“The plug-in hybrids: maybe you have a system power like in the Tarraco of 250hp. It’s not 300hp, but maybe you have a performance plug-in hybrid that has a very strong push in acceleration from 0-50kmh and that will establish the new sportiness. The whole condition has changed.” 

Fast, fluid development

De Meo described the Cupra brand as ‘liquid’. “We will evolve the brand based on what people at that moment want. 

Advertisement - Article continues below

“If you look at where we are in eighteen months from the Cupra Ateca to the Formentor to this, you see the speed of the thing.”

Cupra Formentor - front

One thing de Meo doesn’t want Cupra to be seen as is a premium brand. “You don’t need luxury to feel unique,” he told us.

Instead he looks to what’s happening in the sportswear market. “You can get sneakers from the likes of Valantino and Louis Vuitton, but you also have examples of Yamamoto and Stella McCartney special editions with Adidas. It’s above Adidas, but they use the same technology and put different things on them and sell them for more.

“We want to be technical – when you take a Yamamoto pair of sneakers with Adidas, they combine all the best technology and they sell you a pair of sneakers for €300 and my kids would go for that.” 

What do you think the future holds for Cupra? Let us know your view in the comments…

Advertisement
Advertisement

Recommended

New Cupra Tavascan electric SUV production still on hold 
Cupra Tavascan - front 3/4 static Frankfurt
Cupra

New Cupra Tavascan electric SUV production still on hold 

The pure-electric halo car from Cupra is still unconfirmed for production as the firm focuses on plug-in hybrids 
8 Jul 2020
New Cupra Leon Competicion touring car features 3D printed parts
Cupra

New Cupra Leon Competicion touring car features 3D printed parts

The Cupra Leon Competicion is a track-bred racer, with a smattering of 3D printed components and a 335bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine
26 Mar 2020
New 2020 Cupra Formentor arrives as brand’s first unique model
Cupra Formentor

New 2020 Cupra Formentor arrives as brand’s first unique model

The sleek Cupra Formentor performance SUV gets 242bhp plug-in hybrid and 306bhp turbocharged petrol options
2 Mar 2020
New Cupra Leon revealed with hybrid power and up to 306bhp
Cupra Leon Estate - front 3/4 static
Cupra

New Cupra Leon revealed with hybrid power and up to 306bhp

Cupra, SEAT’s performance brand, has got its hands on the Leon hatch and the new Cupra Leon is the result
20 Feb 2020

Most Popular

New Cupra el-Born electric hot hatch offers 310-mile range
Cupra el-Born

New Cupra el-Born electric hot hatch offers 310-mile range

The sporty Cupra el-Born is the Spanish brand’s first all-electric vehicle – and it has a maximum claimed range of 310 miles
8 Jul 2020
New Polestar 2 2020 review
Polestar 2 Hatchback

New Polestar 2 2020 review

We get behind the wheel of the new Polestar 2 to see if it can rival the Tesla Model 3
7 Jul 2020
New Kia e-Niro 2020 review
Kia e-Niro SUV

New Kia e-Niro 2020 review

All-electric Kia e-Niro mid-sized SUV 
benefits from same updates as hybrid Niro versions
9 Jul 2020