Seat is set to turn Cupra into its own brand to help boost sales, with a new badge and special Seat Sport engineers on the case.
Seat is trying to defuse the rumours that emerged when the new badge was filed with patent authorities, saying that patenting new badge ideas is a normal part of the business process. It also said, however, that Seat is evolving its ‘corporate identity’, and that it wants to evolve Seat Sport’s activities beyond its current work on racing cars. The move toward being a full brand is pretty much a given, we think.
That would give Cupra the opportunity to take bog-standard Seat cars and differentiate them from the crowd more than the relatively subtle Leon and Ibiza Cupras have been. Seat Sport works in a similar way to Peugeot Sport, preparing the company’s competition vehicles, and it’s this expertise that Seat wants to leverage for its future Cupras in the same way that Peugeot has.
Others have suggested that this would be more like Abarth’s relationship to Fiat, which was, for many years, more or less a half-hearted styling exercise with slightly more powerful engines, but Seat’s apparent determination to see Cupra done properly means that the track-derived Peugeot Sport-style approach is much more likely.
A four-wheel drive Leon Cupra R has been suggested, using the estate version’s drivetrain and an even more powerful state of tune for the 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine. The Ateca compact SUV is also on the list of cars that a semi-independent Cupra would look at upgrading.