The new Cupra brand is set to serve as a technological figurehead for Seat and could be used to introduce hybrid and electrified tech into the manufacturer's range
The only Cupra model confirmed so far is a petrol-engined Ateca, alongside a new Seat Leon Cupra R ST estate – which will maintain Seat branding along for model consistency, but will feature new Cupra copper colouring. The Cupra range will rapidly expand to feature seven models by 2020. Cupra versions of the Ibiza and Arona are likely in 2019, and the firm showed a concept sketch at its launch event that previews a possible Cupra-only model in the future.
The expanded model range, which will include three new cars in 2020, will include alternate powertrains, with an early focus on plug-in hybrids. Seat boss Luca de Meo has hinted that the higher price of Cupra models would enable them to feature such variants, along with other cutting-edge technology, ahead of Seat-branded machines.
“We're in a phase where we will have to integrate a lot of technologies into the product because they are available, from engine technology to connectivity, driver assistance systems, everything,” he said.
“When you do it on a car supposed to be sold at, say, £11,000, it’s something, but do it on a car two to three times the price you have some space to integrate that technology. We will use Cupra as a gate to bring technology that will cascade to the rest of the Seat range.”
Seat’s R&D boss Matthias Rabe added: “In the future, we'll look at alternative powertrains in the Cupra division. There will be more electrification in Cupra, and we’re thinking about battery electric vehicles. We’re also looking at the digital world, both inside the car and how it connects outside it.