Monday, 26 february 2018 | Redacción CEU
Cupra becomes independent. The range stops being one of the nicknames of Seat to introduce itself as a new independent car brand. With a sports approach, focused on power and high performance but without distancing too much from affordable prices, the firm believes it has managed to gather the necessary ingredients to captivate a new audience. How is Cupra introducing itself and what does it promise? Why does this brand choose an SUV as its first model? With what other cars does it intend to surprise the masses?
Cupra, an acronym for Cup Racing, abandons the Seat logo for a new and own one that is bronze color, has defined straight lines and is inspired by the tribal civilizations that according to its promoters represent the values of the new brand: passion, precision, determination and courage. The sports car firm of Seat is launched to the market with the strong slogan "Cupra, nothing to prove". Its creators trust that the firm will become in a new elite brand, differentiating itself from the most generalist manufacturers and attracting the attention of a new public interested in vehicles with a more sophisticated and sporty character and with a greater purchasing power, but it seems that they did this without distancing much from the affordable prices –the new Curpra Ateca could have a price 10% higher than the classic Ateca according to Seat sources collected by the EFEAgency, in line with this information, the newspaper El País informs that the range could have a difference of the same percentage respect to the rest of Seat models–.
The Cupra is not the first case of emancipation in the automotive world, Alpine and Renault ,Abarth and Fiat or AMG and Mercedes are some of its precedents. Although Cupra introduces itself as an independent brand with its own identity, it will continue to be integrated into the business framework of Seat and collaborating with the company in the model development. Therefore, it is not a new manufacturer, but a new brand focused on the design and marketing of cars with a sports line inspired by the classic vehicles that made it come today to have its proper name, but with a new approach, concept and strategy. The own Seat's authorized dealers will also market the brand, one out of five of the company dealers will have a specialized area in these models, approximately 265 throughout Europe and it is possible that some will be installed outside the continent.
Cupra will not only develop original models but will also be in charge of the motorsport and racing division that was handled by Seat Sport until now. TCR Cupra will be its first racing car, a vehicle designed for the TCR Series championship. But the car that has gotten the spotlights, the star of the Cupra's birth and that will also be responsible for paving the way of the brand in the market, is another one. Although some pointed to the Cupra Ibiza as the chosen one, Seat surprised them with the choice of an SUV to present the sports brand.
The place chosen for the presentation of the new brand birth last week was not circumstantial, the Terramar racing circuit of Sant Pere de Ribes was the place where the first Spanish Formula 1 Grand Prix took place in 1923. It was there where Seat gave the starting signal for Cupra with something out of the ordinary for a sports firm, an SUV model: the Cupra Ateca.
Although it was not the most obvious decision, the SUV choice as a star model is not a trivial issue. The global market of these vehicles does not stop growing and Cupra does not want to look the other way. This is a point that suggests its more versatile character and that seems to announce that it will not be the last model of its kind for which the brand bets –the next one could be a model based on the small SUV Seat Arona–.
The chosen vehicle to inaugurate the brand breaking-in will begin to commercialize in the third quarter of this year. The Cupra Ateca is an SUV with a 2.0 TSI engine with 300 HP, 4Drive total traction and a seven-speed DSG gearbox. A model capable of reaching a top speed of 245 km/h and reaching 0/100km/h in 5.4 seconds. A vehicle that from the first moment confirms its strong personality. It replaces the Seat logo with its own one, presents itself with its name on the lower grille and points out several details in bronze, the Cupra's hallmark.
The sports brand announced that wants to double sales in the next 4 or 5 years. With Cupra, Martorell's firm wants to diversify the business and develop models that offer greater profitability. Seat has informed press that in the next seven years Cupra plans to launch seven different models to the market. Although for the moment the brand has not confirmed which will be the next Cupra's models, in the presentation of the new firm, they showed a special edition of the SEAT León Cupra R ST and new designs based on the Seat Ibiza and on the Seat Arona.
One of the most significant comments of this presentation was the one from Luca de Meo, president of Seat, about the interest of the sports brand in integrating new technologies both ecological –hybrid, plug-in, natural gas and pure electric– and those related to autonomous driving. In fact, the firm suggests the possibility that in 2020 they can develop plug-in hybrids that maintain the character focused on the outputs that the vehicles offer and reduce the environmental impact at the same time. This brand will also allow the company to access new markets where Seat was not present before, like New Zealand or Australia, where it is not worth landing if the profitability is not high.
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