Cupra is increasing globally, and that has come on the expense of SEAT.
The model Cupra was spun off from isn’t lifeless, however the firm has confirmed it can stop producing cars.
“The way forward for Seat is Cupra,” Volkswagen model CEO Thomas Schäfer informed Autocar.
He informed the publication all present SEAT fashions can be retired on the finish of their present lifecycles as the model is wound down as a carmaker.
However, the SEAT title will reside on, with Schäfer confirming the Volkswagen Group “would discover a completely different position for it”. That may very well be as a mobility options supplier, as the model already produces the SEAT Mo electrical scooter.
Schäfer informed Autocar it was prohibitive to spend money on each manufacturers, and there was higher incomes potential for Cupra, which has been transitioning to a completely fledged model which the manager confirmed will see a “ramp up” in funding.
Schäfer famous Cupra is the quickest-rising model in Europe and is fashionable even in its (and SEAT’s) Spanish homeland.
Confirming hypothesis, he additionally mentioned the plan to exchange SEAT with Cupra was set in movement way back, with plans to reinvigorate SEAT scuttled due to the model’s historical past of making losses.
“I feel it was the best choice in hindsight, nevertheless it’s a big gamble,” mentioned Schäfer. “I’ve seen a lot of new names come up and go however this was a great choice. Cupra is greater than Alfa Romeo and Polestar, so not simply new manufacturers but add itionally previous.”
SEAT additionally produces the Ibiza mild hatch, Arona small crossover and Tarraco giant crossover, which don’t have Cupra equivalents.
The Born was really revealed as a SEAT, earlier than the corporate determined to as an alternative introduce it as a Cupra – a transfer that appeared to seal SEAT’s destiny as a automotive model. Cupra subsequently revealed the Tavascan and Terramar which, likewise, gained’t be provided as SEATs.
SEAT’s future additionally appeared grim when plans for it to enter the Chinese market have been scuttled. The Volkswagen Group as an alternative opted to introduce a brand new model, Jetta, which really sells a few flippantly restyled SEATs.
It’s unclear exactly when the present crop of SEATs will disappear. The Cupra Leon is due for a facelift in 2024, and it seems unlikely the Volkswagen Group will spend money on a SEAT counterpart.
The Ibiza and Arona, cousins to the Volkswagen Polo and T-Cross, debuted in 2017 whereas the Tarraco, a counterpart to the Skoda Kodiaq, adopted a yr later. With a brand new Kodiaq being revealed this yr, the Tarraco’s time is coming to an finish, very like its barely older showroom mates’.
SEAT, or Sociedad Española de Automóviles de Turismo, has a protracted historical past.
It was based in 1950 as a three way partnership between the state-run Instituto Nacional de Industria, Spanish personal banks, and Fiat.
For a few years, SEAT merely manufactured rebadged Fiat autos.
SEAT’s relationship with Fiat resulted in 1982 as the previous wanted capital the latter wouldn’t present.
With the tie-up having dissolved, SEAT started introducing autos that have been greater than mere rebadges, together with the Ronda – a restyled Fiat Ritmo – and the Ibiza hatch and Malaga sedan, which have been additional evolutions of those underpinnings.
SEAT discovered a suitor only a few years later, with Volkswagen buying 75 per cent of the Spanish model. SEAT grew to become an entirely owned subsidiary of the German automaker in 1990.
While predominantly bought in European markets, SEAT entered the Australian market in 1995 as a extra price range-oriented counterpart to the Volkswagen model.
It provided the Ibiza mild hatch, its Cordoba sedan spinoff, and the mid-sized Toledo hatch. But it struggled to compete with the rebel Korean manufacturers on worth – Daewoo, for instance, entered the Australian market on the identical time however managed to double SEAT’s gross sales tally in 1995 and stored rising whereas SEAT shrunk.
By 1997, the model had just about collapsed in Australia, and by 1998 it entered a interval of hibernation as vendor franchises dropped it in report numbers.
It relaunched for 1999 with a repositioned, tweaked vary, however only a few months later its native distributor referred to as time of demise, blaming “the onset of the Asian forex disaster coupled with plenty of different obstacles”.
Volkswagen would go on to obtain vastly higher success with the native reintroduction of the Skoda model.