“There are no problems with the government,” he said on the decision to move away from Seat, adding that Spanish customers had also responded well to Cupra.
He also highlighted that, further afield, Cupra was the fastest growing brand in Europe.
Schäfer said the wheels had been set in motion for Cupra to take Seat’s role long ago. He said it had always been a long-term brand, but Cupra’s success had cemented the thinking that this was the right thing to do.
There had been debate about trying to reinvigorate Seat, he said, but the brand had a history of making losses and ultimately Cupra’s greater earning potential cemented the decision.
“I think it was the right decision in hindsight, but it’s a gamble,” said Schäfer. “I’ve seen lots of new names come up and go, but this was a good decision. Cupra is bigger than Alfa Romeo and Polestar, so not just new brands but also old.”
It’s possible that the Seat name could be dropped completely from the Leon when that car is facelifted in 2024, leaving it solely as the Cupra Leon.
The Ibiza is unlikely to be replaced in its current form when it’s phased out, while Cupra is also planning to launch an SUV based on the Audi Q3 in 2024.