SEAT Mulls Changing Name to Cupra
Volkswagen AG’s SEAT unit may market all its future vehicles exclusively under its new Cupra sub-brand as part of a plan to expand globally and boost profitability.
Using the Cupra name instead of SEAT would help move the Spanish carmaker up market and better differentiate it from Volkswagen’s Skoda and namesake VW brands, Autocar notes. While SEAT would become more upscale than VW, Skoda would be repositioned as the carmaker’s budget brand.
At last month’s Frankfurt auto show, Volkswagen Chairman Herbert Diess told Autocar that SEAT should be positioned above VW as a more emotional premium brand, which the magazine likens to Alfa Romeo’s role within Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV. Diess said the profit margins for SEAT’s current models need to be improved compared with their VW counterparts.
A new name could help SEAT better compete in markets such as Italy and France where it currently is viewed as a lower tier brand, Autocar opines. It says the carmaker also plans to expand internationally in coming years, possibly including North America by about 2025.
In addition to Europe, SEAT currently sells vehicles in China. But its vehicles there are being rebranded under a new Jetta sub-brand, according to media reports earlier this year.
SEAT launched the Cupra performance nameplate in 2018 with an all-wheel-drive variant of the Ateca SUV/crossover vehicle. The sub-brand, which has since added the Cupra Leon, has sold some 18,000 vehicles this year in Europe, Autocar says.
Another five Cupra-badged models are in the works. This could include an all-electric model that was previewed by the Tavascan concept crossover (above right) in Frankfurt.
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