Currently reading: How Seat and Cupra can co-exist
The two Spanish brands have seen healthy growth recently, as boss Wayne Griffiths explains

So the early success of Cupra means the end of Seat, right? No, no and no again is the answer you get from Wayne Griffiths, who leads both of the Volkswagen Group’s Spanish brands.

“I joined Seat five years ago under Luca de Meo, and we tried to make Seat cool and desirable, not just a cheaper Volkswagen,” the Brit told us at the Munich motor show.

“We made Seat the fastest-growing brand in Europe with the youngest buyers [and] highest conquest rate, and we made three SUVs while investing €1 billion into a new Leon as well as PHEVs."

Seat solved, then. And there's the data to back it up, with double-digit growth in the firm’s market share reported in recent years to make it Europe’s fastest-growing brand.

“Seat has never been in a better place,” said Griffiths. To that end, the brand's market share went up to 8% in Spain, 4% in Germany and 3.2% in UK.

Any market share of new brand Cupra is on top. In Spain, for example, it’s another 1-2% market share, where the brand is already at the level of Alfa Romeo from a standing start of three years. “It’s not just a model but a brand,” said Griffiths.

What is Cupra, then? “We made a conscious decisions to elevate Cupra and to do something different with a clear differentiation and with a sporty EV brand,” said Griffiths.

Given the early success, it really does seem to be working, with the Cupra Formentor in particular going great guns in attracting younger buyers to the Volkswagen Group brands – one of the clear missions of Cupra.

What is a Seat versus a Cupra? “I see them as two brands with clear identities under one company, both within the Volkswagen Group,” said Griffiths, who pointed out Group boss Herbert Diess as a big supporter of what Cupra - and indeed Seat - was trying to achieve.

“It irritates me when I see that Cupra is named as Seat’s sub-brand. Cupra is a standalone brand from the same company. It’s not a sub-brand; it’ s a different brand with different targets.”

Meanwhile Seat, which is already 70 years old, “will exist in 50 years time” let alone five, reckons Griffiths.


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567 7 September 2021

Cupra is a sub-brand of Seat whether they like it or not. GTI and R isn't a separate brand to VW, or vRS isn't a separate brand to Skoda or RS isn't a separate brand to Audi.