Currently reading: Autocar confidential: Cupra's brand ambitions, Polestar's Geely connection and more
Our reporters have been talking to those in the know all week. This is what they learned

This week, we caught up with the man in charge of Cupra, spoke to Porsche about its model naming methods, and found out what's in store for Polestar.

Not a sub-brand any more

Cupra has been a standalone entity for four years now, and it’s high time to consider it as a fully fledged brand in its own right, according to Seat and Cupra CEO Wayne Griffiths. “I see them as two brands with clear identities under one company, both within the Volkswagen Group,” he said. “It irritates me when I see Cupra written as Seat’s sub-brand. Cupra is a standalone brand within the same company.”

What's in a name?

“How can it be called a Turbo when it doesn’t have an engine?” screamed critics when Porsche revealed the model name for its top-rung Taycan, and they will no doubt be just as riled by the hottest version of the electric Macan arriving next year. Porsche SUV boss Sebastian Staiger told Autocar that the petrol-engined Macan Turbo won’t return “but let’s get surprised what our electric successors will then bring up”. Another electric Turbo, then? To us, it’s all starting to feel a bit forced…

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The Geely connection

Polestar is forging ahead with its own identity, distinct from its Volvo parent company, but boss Thomas Ingenlath said it would be “very stupid” to develop completely bespoke architectures and powertrains, because being part of the Geely group is “one of the main advantages that Polestar has compared to start-up competitors”. Because it can share development, components and factories with several other marques, he said, “it would be a waste of our energy to try to do everything ourself”.

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Bimfan 9 November 2021

Made in the same factories from the same VW components. Sold in the same showrooms and some models, Leon for instance, even look the same. So how is Cupra brand distinct from Seat? 

It's taken 20 years for BMW to properly spin-off Mini as a separate brand, so Cupra has a long way to go yet. 

rmcondo 9 November 2021

Strikes me that the brand name with the problem is Seat, not Cupra. I mean, a car that is called a seat in consequence of it having an acronym for a name. Isn't the long-term purpose of Cupra to give the brand a name that works in all markets?

f839 9 November 2021

Cupra is still a sub brand. It has no brand image and you walk into a SEAT dealership to buy another SEAT that looks like a SEAT. Except for their ID3. Which looks like an ID3. If they want image as a sporting brand they need to make a car people want, not a car people end up with, so not a slightly faster Leon of some variety. People will still probably end up with the Leon regardless, but it would bring people in and leave a good impression. Don't understand why people are riled up by the Turbo designation. Just delete the model/trim lettering from the back, it's a factory option and I would do it regardless. Looks classier whether you have a Base Macan or a 911 Turbo S. The last bit is a lot of words for "Platform sharing makes sense and saves costs".