Cupra boss Wayne Griffiths has revealed a bold expansion strategy for the Seat-owned performance brand, targeting a rapid shift to electrification and substantial sales growth in 2021.
Speaking at a virtual celebration for Cupra’s third anniversary as a standalone brand, Griffiths said the brand’s performance has exceeded the expectations laid out at its launch in 2018, achieving double-digit growth (11%) in 2020 – despite the pandemic – and the highest growth rate of any manufacturer in January 2021.
“This great start has made me very optimistic, and determined to press harder in 2021,” Griffiths said. “That’s why we are ambitious and we want to double sales volume from last year.”
Since launching, Cupra has sold 65,000 units globally, and now has three model lines in dealerships: the Ateca, Leon and Formentor. The latter, which launched in 2020, is seeing strong demand, with order banks of up to seven weeks currently.
Griffiths plans to continue that rapid growth by doubling Cupra’s sales in 2021, and taking its share of Seat group sales from 5% to 10% globally. “Once we have all the engine variants in the market, we expect to far exceed our initial goal of reaching €1 billion turnover,” Griffiths projected.
“We have made clear the statement that Cupra is here to stay. I am personally proud about how our customers – and the media – are embracing the Cupra brand”, he added.
Key to this growth will be the success of Cupra’s new electrified models. There are currently two available plug-in hybrid variants of both the Leon and Formentor – the latter of which is expected to account for 50% of all the model’s sales – and another two, as yet unspecified, PHEV models due this year.
But more significantly, 2021 will see the launch of the all-electric El-born hot hatchback. Based on the same MEB architecture as its Volkswagen ID 3 sibling, the El-born will be capable of up to 310 miles per charge, and will embody Cupra’s commitment to performance with a sub-3.0sec 0-31mph time, aggressive styling and race-inspired interior details.
The El-born will help Cupra meet emissions targets and help the brand to establish a foothold in new markets where electric car uptake is already strong and the necessary infrastructure is more advanced. It will also arrive alongside a radical reinvention of Cupra’s retail model, which aims to combine elements of the online and in-person car-buying experience.
“The objective is to respond to the demands of the new generation of customers,” Griffiths said, “and ensure a sustainable sales model for the brand and its investors in the future”.
Cupra aims to have 800 retail sites open by the end of 2022, and will open its third standalone ‘garage’ facility in Munich later this year, following the opening of similar sites in Mexico and Hamburg. The virtual experience will begin to play a significant role in the brand’s expansion, however, with the new ‘e-garage’ becoming a platform for Cupra owners and fans to meet brand representatives and attend presentations.
Aftersales boss Lourdes de la Sota said the new service “digital, disruptive and connected, but always with a human touch”.
Looking ahead, Griffiths reintroduced the bold Tavascan performance SUV concept, and repeated a promise that Cupra is “working hard” to make it a reality. He previously said he is committed to “the dream” of putting the 302bhp electric crossover into production, but suggested it won’t be before 2024.