Seat confirms plans to launch €20k electric car below Cupra

The Seat brand will live on in the future with a lower-cost electric car positioned below the Cupra range.

Seat and Cupra boss Wayne Griffiths sought to put an end to speculation about the future of the Seat brand once and for all by confirming the likelihood of such a model in the future. That speculation was in part fuelled by Thomas Schäfer, chairman of the parent company of Seat and Cupra, who said last year that “Seat’s future was Cupra”.

That future beyond today’s range of Seat models, said Griffiths, will take shape when lower-cost electric cars can be made profitably. 

“The €20,000 question is when Seat needs to be on the table and as part of the answer,” Griffiths told Autocar.

Griffiths said that while the Seat group will remain centred on Cupra for the foreseeable future as it is simply more profitable, the focus will be placed on Seat again when electrification reaches lower-priced segments and there is suitable demand for such products. 

Such a car is not an immediate priority for the Seat group as it would not be profitable today, and Griffiths said “my priority is profitability”. Parent company Seat SA made €625 million profit last year “with half of all our turnover from Cupra, and with higher profitability [than Seat]”, Cupra having helped push the group’s margins to 4.4% and now accounting for close to 50% of Seat SA’s volumes.

Cupra boss Wayne Griffiths poses with the Urbanrebel concept car

Seat has recently invested in substantial facelifts for the Ibiza and Arona, and Griffiths said their reveal was important to show the company is still committed to investing in Seat models.

Cupra and Seat models will now “both live together for at least the next five years and live in perfect harmony as they don’t get in each other’s way”, although there will be no new Cupra models launched that would also carry a Seat badge, and vice versa. To that end, all immediate Seat group launches will be Cupras.

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