Seat is to stop making cars and will be fully replaced by Cupra over the coming years as part of a major change of strategy for Volkswagen Group.
The news was confirmed this morning (Sep 4) at the Munich Motor Show, where company chairman Thomas Schäfer was addressing attendees.
He told those present that ‘the future of Seat is Cupra’ and confirmed that the group is planning to ‘ramp up’ investment in the performance brand.
It is now thought that Seat’s more popular models – such as its Leon hatchback – will be rebadged as Cupra when they are next face lifted.
Meanwhile, other models – including the Ibiza supermini – will be phased out at the end of their current lifecycles.
Once the change is made, Autocar reports that bosses will try and retain the Seat name elsewhere – likely providing mobility solutions such as e-scooters.
It is currently unclear what the switch will mean for Seat’s UK dealer network, but given that the vast majority already represent both brands, retailers will be hoping for minimal disruption.
- Two Belfast Seat dealerships to close after Sytner-owned car dealer Agnew Group parts with Spanish brand
Explaining the decision, Schäfer said it has become ‘prohibitive’ to continue investing in both Seat and Cupra. Bosses have therefore decided to back Cupra due to its ‘far greater’ earning potential.
He also denied suggestions that the move was in anyway linked to a rift with the Spanish government and was instead linked to Cupra’s growing popularity.
‘There are no problems with the government,’ he said. ‘I think it was the right decision in hindsight, but it’s a gamble.
‘I’ve seen lots of new names come up and go but this was a good decision. Cupra is bigger than Alfa Romeo and Polestar, so not just new brands but also old.’
Car Dealer has approached Volkswagen Group for comment.