Currently reading: Cupra boss: No bespoke sports cars for now
CEO of the Seat-owned performance brand is ruling them out on financial grounds, at least in the short term
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2 mins read
12 December 2019

Cupra is unlikely to build a bespoke sports car in the foreseeable future, with CEO Luca de Meo telling Autocar it will focus on SUVs.

“You want roadsters, two-seaters, cabrios? This is a typical perspective from your [British] market,” said de Meo. “We don’t get that question from other markets… sometimes from Germans.”

He elaborated by saying: “SUVs are called sports utility vehicles because they represent a new concept of sportiness. These kinds of things, SUVs with a coupé look, this is what for us was the two-door – an impractical coupé you could barely fit in, but it was fast, the handling was amazing because of a low centre of gravity etc. These things are gone.”

De Meo said the argument about building a sports car is an emotional one, not a rational one, for the time being.

“I cannot afford to drop a few hundred million on something where I sell 15,000 cars at a loss just for the sake of doing a sports car,” he said. “When I have some resources, I can tell you we have a lot of creativity, but right now this is not a priority. Seat sells 500,000 cars [annually]. I do not have the luxury to do that sort of thing, although I do like it.”

There have been three new Cupra models since the brand was spun off from Seat and all are SUVs: the Cupra Ateca, the Formentor and the Tavascan, a sporting electric SUV concept that’s likely to enter production in the next two years.

De Meo said the original idea for Cupra was far less ambitious: “I wanted to create a business around the motorsport division to protect it from my successor coming in and saying ‘Racing? We don’t need that’ and closing [it]. I wanted to create a business around motorsport that can finance its operations. That was the initial idea. Then it became much bigger.”

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Mikey C 12 December 2019

Where I slightly disagree

Where I slightly disagree with their CEO is that a flagship sports car/coupe isn't just about making profit in itself, but giving a halo effect to the whole range, as otherwise Seat is just producing exactly the same type of hatches, SUVs and crossovers as the other VW brands. A unique product could help position Sear as being something slightly different

This doesn't always work of course, the I doubt the Peugeot RCZ helped sell any of their regular models. Ditto the Renault Sports Spider etc

Lanehogger 12 December 2019

What does Cupra actually mean to buyers?

Audi, BMW, Ford, Mercedes, Renault for example have their performance sub-brands after decades of careful honing and proving while providing a number of established and excellent vehicles over that period to create that lustre and desirability which Audi Sport, BMW M, Ford Performance, Mercedes-AMG and Renault Sport enjoy. While SEAT Sport (as Cupra was once called) has been around since the mid-1980s SEAT have not exactly produced the road cars, image or richness to stand alongside those performance rivals, yet alone even consider developing a bespoke car, and yet somehow they feel that only 15 years or so of pinning the Cupra badge on hot SEATs suddenly puts Cupra on a pedestal alongside those well and truly established rivals. And not even having the SEAT name alongside the Cupra brand doesn’t really help matters either, making Cupra relatively anonymous and brandless to many.

405line 12 December 2019

A heady mix

of being caught wrong footed, arrogance that you can make sports cars from VW parts and cynicism that you can make a sporting vehicle from an SUV apart from applying the standard industry sporting tropes to SUVs in general.

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