The future of SEAT is undergoing a significant transformation. As Cupra emerges as a separate brand, SEAT, as we’ve known it, will bid farewell. The Volkswagen Group recently revealed that SEAT will discontinue car manufacturing at the conclusion of the current-generation model lifecycle. During an interview at the 2023 IAA Mobility event in Munich, Volkswagen Group CEO Thomas Schäfer hinted at a forthcoming reimagining for the Martorell-based marque.
What lies ahead for SEAT? While SEAT traditionally stood for “Sociedad Española de Automóviles de Turismo” (Spanish Touring Automobiles Company), its future role is now uncertain, as automobiles may no longer be its primary focus. It could potentially transform into a mobility-oriented company, akin to Renault’s Mobilize. SEAT has already ventured into the realm of electric scooters with its MÓ lineup. Meanwhile, the current SEAT cars will continue production for several more years.
Autocar speculates that the upcoming update for the Leon compact hatchback and wagon might signal the end of SEAT-branded versions. This suggests that the 2024 Leon facelift could be exclusively marketed under the Cupra brand, though no official confirmation has been provided.
When discussing SEAT’s future, Schäfer emphasized that “the future of SEAT is Cupra.” He further noted that the VW Group intends to make significant investments in Cupra, signaling an impending expansion. Schäfer defended this bold shift by highlighting Cupra’s remarkable success as the fastest-growing brand across Europe.
Ironically, SEAT’s car production journey began 70 years ago with the 1400 model in 1953. It wasn’t until 1986 that the Spanish government relinquished control of the brand to the Volkswagen Group.
Looking ahead to 2023, SEAT Cupra is not only updating its existing vehicle lineup but also planning to introduce the Terramar, a compact crossover sharing mechanical roots with the next-generation Audi Q3. In 2025, the DarkRebel concept is set to evolve into an entry-level electric vehicle, positioned below the Born model, and will join the electric lineup alongside the emissions-free Tavascan crossover.