New all-electric car adds further surge to Seat’s product offensive
Spanish car firm to introduce its new el-Born electric hatchback next year
Seat’s first all-electric car will be sold under its Cupra sub-brand from next year
Seat’s first all-electric car will be sold under its Cupra sub-brand from next year. Clearly aimed at boosting the profile of the recently launched Cupra marque, the decision not to launch the important new arrival under the better-known Seat badge drew several questions from the motoring press.
News of the new electric car, called the el-Born, came as the VW Group company announced a €5 billion investment over the next five years in research and development in Spain. The move underlines its position as the largest R&D investor in Spain, but was accompanied by repeated calls by Seat acting president Carsten Isensee for greater government and local authority support and commitment to the company’s move towards developing and building electric cars in Spain.
The new el-Born will be built at the VW Group’s Zwickau plant in Germany alongside the Volkswagen ID. However, Isensee said the plan is to start electric car production in Spain at its Martorell plant in Barcelona, from 2025.
The car shares the same underpinnings as the new VW ID.3 and Skoda Enyaq – known as the MEB platform – but Cupra brand boss Wayne Anthony Griffiths is adamant the el-Born was developed separately to its VW sibling. Initially unveiled as a concept car at the 2019 Geneva motor show, it is expected to feature an 82kWh battery, which should give it a range of close to 500km. However, as with the ID.3, different battery sizes are likely to be offered, allowing for different pricing points.
The Spanish brand is on a major product offensive of late, with the stylish new Leon getting the top billing, but arriving alongside a new Ateca and a new large crossover from Cupra, the Formentor.
Seat’s growth rate has been impressive of late, claiming to be the fastest growing car brand in Europe, albeit from a relatively low base. Cupra in particular has faced a challenge in gaining ground, though Griffiths argues an expanding model line-up will help while the fact the Spanish company’s first all-electric car will carry its badge will prove to be a major sales boost. It will also help lure more Seat dealers to take on the sub-brand in their showrooms.
In Ireland Seat saw its market share rise to 3.5 per cent last year, the highest since it was launched here, with sales of 4,119 new cars, up 11.9 per cent on the previous year. It was the fourth year in a row for double digit sales growth by the car brand.