How Cupra plans to double sales with a little help from EVs and digital wizardry

Published: 22 February 2021

 Cupra’s bold plans for growth
 Electric models and PHEVs
 New digital sales channels too 

Seat is pushing its Cupra sub-brand to grow to a tenth of group sales with the arrival of new models, its first EVs and disruptive digital sales models. As well as unveiling the old-school Formentor VZ5 five-cylinder performance crossover on its third anniversary, the company today outlined the steps that’ll see it deliver more than €1 billion of annual revenues as it grows from bit-part player to major brand in its own right.

Launched in 2018, Cupra currently accounts for 5% of Seat group car sales, but company president Wayne Griffiths said that his target was 10% of all output. ‘This is the start of a new era for Cupra,’ he vowed.

Cupra sales globally

Griffiths is now the president of both Seat and Cupra, after Luca de Meo jumped ship last autumn to head up Renault. The new boss said the bestselling Cupra to date was the Leon, followed by the Ateca and new Formentor which was launched at the end of 2020. He pointed out the brand had managed to grow global sales by 11%, even during the difficult lockdown year of 2020:

  • 2018  14,400
  • 2019  24,800
  • 2020  27,400

‘We want to double our sales volume from last year,’ Griffiths pledged, pointing to full availability of Formentor now on stream with plug-in hybrid variants, and the arrival of the Spanish take on the Volkswagen ID.3 electric car – the Cupra Born (below) – which will let Cupra launch into new more electric-friendly markets such as Norway.

Cupra Born: the Spanish brand's first electric car

Cupra is rapidly becoming a plugged-in brand and will have six electrified models by the end of the year.

How Cupra is going electric

The Cupra Born EV hatchback is due later in 2021 and Griffiths called it ‘a game-changer for the brand’ with its claimed electric range of ‘more than 500km’ (310 miles) and an E-boost system to let Cupra offer extra performance, as well as saintly purity more normally associated with EVs.

The Spanish performance brand has also pledged to develop new subscription models and direct digital sales channels to accompany the new products; it won’t turn its back on traditional dealers, as it seeks to supplement them with new, more immersive online sales mechanisms and a new raft of Cupra Masters (best described as the automotive equivalent of Apple Genius Bar staff).

Cupra Tavascan: the brand's first all-electric SUV

Slick sales operations are one thing, but products customers crave is the big prerequisite here. As well as a Volkswagen-backed range of popular hatchbacks and SUVs, Cupra is also developing a business plan to launch the Tavascan electric crossover (above). ‘We are working hard to make the Cupra Taviscan a reality,’ said Griffiths.

Say what you like about the cartoonish badge, but with the might of the VW Group parts bin behind it and the ability to fuse modish crossovers with the EV innards the market is rapidly adopting, who’d bet against Cupra succeeding in the next phase of its expansionist goals?

Browse our Cupra reviews

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet