CEO of the Seat-owned performance brand is ruling them out on financial grounds, at least in the short term
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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12 December 2019

I'm unsure who told Mr de Meo that the Brits want a sports car from Seat. It may have been journalists, 55+ dealers but surely not potential customers. The roadster/sports car market is shriveling everywhere, UK included.

Motorsport is a fine, indeed important thing when it’s in a brand's DNA, but Seat? I fear that the eternal “Spanish Emotion” thing seems to continually trip them up. I love Spain but I struggle to assimilate its national characteristics into something that conjures up a car brand. I get that “Latin Flair” equals Fiat but that’s a brand, like Lancia, or Alfa, that has way more relevant sporting history and yet they still seem to flicker in and out of life. I really like the Stelvio but I hear it struggles, despite dripping in Latin Flair. Unfortunately, Seat seems to sit perceptually somewhere in its wake. Surely there’s a space for Seat to be the upstart punk, quick into the market with tech that beast VW, features that are emotionally and rationally fascinating? Instead, they seem to dither off into sportiness, it’s less and less relevant to the average buyer. Cupra – a question to an answer no one asked.

12 December 2019
Cersai Lannister wrote:

I'm unsure who told Mr de Meo that the Brits want a sports car from Seat. It may have been journalists, 55+ dealers but surely not potential customers. The roadster/sports car market is shriveling everywhere, UK included.

Motorsport is a fine, indeed important thing when it’s in a brand's DNA, but Seat? I fear that the eternal “Spanish Emotion” thing seems to continually trip them up. I love Spain but I struggle to assimilate its national characteristics into something that conjures up a car brand. I get that “Latin Flair” equals Fiat but that’s a brand, like Lancia, or Alfa, that has way more relevant sporting history and yet they still seem to flicker in and out of life. I really like the Stelvio but I hear it struggles, despite dripping in Latin Flair. Unfortunately, Seat seems to sit perceptually somewhere in its wake. Surely there’s a space for Seat to be the upstart punk, quick into the market with tech that beast VW, features that are emotionally and rationally fascinating? Instead, they seem to dither off into sportiness, it’s less and less relevant to the average buyer. Cupra – a question to an answer no one asked.

 

Exactly?  He came to that decision that there would be no SEAT sports car because quite frankly, no one cares for such a car

12 December 2019

...he's assuming that many people want a rebadged SEAT?

FM8

12 December 2019
xxxx wrote:

...he's assuming that many people want a rebadged SEAT?

...but if it's bespoke, it won't be a rebadge on an existing model...

12 December 2019
FM8 wrote:
xxxx wrote:

...he's assuming that many people want a rebadged SEAT?

...but if it's bespoke, it won't be a rebadge on an existing model...

He saying there won't be a bespoke SEAT, and he's assuming people wanted a rebadged SEAT i.e. CUPRA.

12 December 2019
xxxx wrote:

...he's assuming that many people want a rebadged SEAT?

 

Usual muddle...asking a question (of the wrong people), or making a (redundant) statement?. That is a question, answer it directly.

FM8

12 December 2019
Takeitslowly wrote:

xxxx wrote:

...he's assuming that many people want a rebadged SEAT?

 

Usual muddle...asking a question (of the wrong people), or making a (redundant) statement?. That is a question, answer it directly.

Usual crap from the resident NONCE

12 December 2019

Except that doesn't work as DS and Cupra have recently proved.  Time and effort would be much better spent on getting the product right instead of changing the name to promote products that don't sell. Let's face it why would anyone want to buy a sports car from a company they have never heard of?  Even established makers have trouble selling them...

SEAT should stick to what it is good at, producing cheap(er) more stylish volksagens.  

12 December 2019

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.

12 December 2019

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.

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