Cupra boss: No bespoke sports cars for now

12 December 2019 - autocar

Cupra boss: No bespoke sports cars for now

CEO of the Seat-owned performance brand is ruling them out on financial grounds, at least in the short term

Cupra is unlikely to build a bespoke sports car in the foreseeable future, with CEO Luca de Meo telling Autocar it will focus on SUVs.

"You want roadsters, two-seaters, cabrios? This is a typical perspective from your [British] market," said de Meo. "We don't get that question from other markets... sometimes from Germans."

He elaborated by saying: "SUVs are called sports utility vehicles because they represent a new concept of sportiness. These kinds of things, SUVs with a coupé look, this is what for us was the two-door – an impractical coupé you could barely fit in, but it was fast, the handling was amazing because of a low centre of gravity etc. These things are gone."

De Meo said the argument about building a sports car is an emotional one, not a rational one, for the time being.

"I cannot afford to drop a few hundred million on something where I sell 15,000 cars at a loss just for the sake of doing a sports car," he said. "When I have some resources, I can tell you we have a lot of creativity, but right now this is not a priority. Seat sells 500,000 cars [annually]. I do not have the luxury to do that sort of thing, although I do like it."

There have been three new Cupra models since the brand was spun off from Seat and all are SUVs: the Cupra Ateca, the Formentor and the Tavascan, a sporting electric SUV concept that's likely to enter production in the next two years.

De Meo said the original idea for Cupra was far less ambitious: "I wanted to create a business around the motorsport division to protect it from my successor coming in and saying 'Racing? We don't need that' and closing [it]. I wanted to create a business around motorsport that can finance its operations. That was the initial idea. Then it became much bigger."

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