Wayne Griffiths, CEO of SEAT (and also Cupra), has been very tough on the historic Spanish brand. During a visit to Barcelona in front of the media, the manager referred to the future that both brands have ahead of them. If Cupra is the beautiful girl newborn of the German group, SEAT seems to have a rather complicated future as a manufacturer to fit inside it. There are several quotes that can be extracted from his statements and that make clear the sad reality into which SEAT has fallen in recent times.
In his statements, Griffiths starts by saying that SEAT will have to wait 2026 launch its first electric model, if it finally decides to have it. The reason is that you will have to wait for the next two electric models from Cupra to reach the market: the Tavascan, in 2024, and the UrbanRebel, in 2025. You don’t want to risk that the two brands come together. cannibalize sales. The thing does not end here, because the director was not exactly referring to a SEAT electric car conventional.
The following statement by the CEO regarding SEAT refers to the fact that the brand is committed to its combustion and “electric micro-mobility” offers. Its nearest future in this field is the successful Seat Mó electric scooter. Alongside it, and possibly this is the electric model it was referring to until 2026, a four-wheel variant will appear, as anticipated by the Minimó, an electric quadricycle prototype presented at the end of the last decade and which was filed (for the moment) with the Covid pandemic.
Griffiths’ final touch with SEAT is in the following statements: “The new electric cars we are focused on at the moment are for Cupra (…) We cannot electrify both brands at the same time. SEAT is combustion. cupra is electric”. Being an exclusively combustion brand today is a death sentence for tomorrow.
“I think the idea of the two brands complementing each other, being in the market at the same time, especially in this transition phase, makes a lot of sense,” adds Griffiths.
A silver lining for SEAT?
From its CEO’s statements, it can be deduced that the future of SEAT, if it has one, is in the mobility services with electric vehicles, scooters, scooters, microcars, which have nothing to do with the design, development, production and sale of cars, its lifelong business. And here comes what is, perhaps, the only hope for the brand: “We are working on a micromobility strategy to build a four-wheel vehicle and make decisions about the future electrification of the SEAT brand. in terms of cars to be taken at a later date”.
SEAT’s financial results for 2022, although it can be said that they are as expected, are also very negative. Deliveries dropped 18.1% compared to 2021, from 470 thousand to 385.6 thousand units. The brand indicates that the main reason for this drop has been the shortage of supply. Faced with the continuous limitation of stocks of semiconductors and parts, SEAT took the strategic decision to prioritize Cupra models, which have a higher margin than yours. A move that turned out to be beneficial for the new brand and essential for its long-term stability, but which leaves the parent brand in a very questionable situation.