SEAT will invest five billion euros into its R&D projects by 2025 as it focuses on further electrification of its model line-up.
The significant investment will go towards vehicle development at SEAT’s Technical Centre, particularly towards electrifying the range, as well as equipment and facilities at the Martorell, Barcelona and Componentes plants.
With this investment, SEAT is readying itself to develop new models and take on the production of new projects in Martorell to ensure the business is sustainable and jobs are secure for years to come.
SEAT President Carsten Isenseecommented: “This investment plan is our way of dealing with the future with determination and optimism, so that we will have a stronger, more innovative and more sustainable company.
“Our willingness is that Martorell will manufacture electric vehicles from 2025 onward, when the electric vehicle market will have grown.”
SEAT and CUPRA: One company, two brands
At a press conference held in the recently-opened CASA SEAT in central Barcelona, SEAT Vice-president for Sales and Marketing and CUPRA CEO Wayne Griffiths said: “SEAT and CUPRA are essential for the development of the company. Each one has its clear role, its own personality and attributes and addresses different customer profiles.
“SEAT is the entry gate to the Volkswagen Group: we have the youngest customers – on average 10 years younger – and many first-time buyers. CUPRA on the other hand, targets a new market segment that lies between the mass market and thet traditional premium market. We are sure that there is great potential for growth among customers who are looking for the uniqueness of CUPRA.”
The company also announced that its new software development centre, SEAT:CODE, will have a new office in the heart of Barcelona’s Rambla district. With 150 software developers already at the centre, SEAT will be hiring 100 more to help drive the company’s digital transformation, creating digital products and solutions for SEAT and CUPRA, as well defining digital solutions for the Volkswagen Group.
CUPRA gains momentum with the new el-Born
Since the birth of CUPRA in February 2018, the brand has grown exponentially, exceeding all expectations. Following the opening of the CUPRA Garage (headquarters, opened February 2020) and the subsequent unveiling of the CUPRA Leon and CUPRA Formentor, the company today confirmed that the el-Born concept car will be launched as a CUPRA model, arriving in 2021.
The CUPRA el-Born is wholly designed and developed in Barcelona, and will be manufactured in Zwickau, Germany, on the MEB platform.
“The CUPRA el-Born displays all the genes of the CUPRA brand and is the living proof that performance and electrification are a great match. It will allow us to make an important step into the era of electrification, add more sales and increase the contribution margin”, explained Wayne Griffiths.
“The launch of the CUPRA brand two years ago has been a great success. The disruption taking place within the automotive industry is an ideal opportunity for new brands like CUPRA to emerge. We believe the potential of CUPRA is so big that we could hit €1 billion revenue when the full product range is available in the market.”
Cautiously optimistic for the second half of the year
SEAT President Carsten Isensee reflected on the first six months of the year, which have been defined by the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, saying: “the first half of the year has been possibly one of the most challenging in SEAT’s history. The 2020 and 2021 financial years were expected to be difficult and we must now add the very serious impact of COVID-19 on the automotive industry.”
However, Isensee was cautiously optimistic about the progress of the business over the coming months: “In recent weeks we have begun to see a slight improvement as we began to resume activity. We are confident of a recovery, at least partially, during the second half of 2020.”
In fact, the SEAT plant in Martorell has almost completely returned to its pre-COVID production rate and today is producing around 1,900 vehicles daily, while the Barcelona and Componentes plants are similarly close to returning to pre-Coronavirus volumes.
The Martorell factory now heads into the second half of a year which will be marked by the start of production of the new Formentor, the first 100% CUPRA model, and the new plug-in hybrid Leon on line two, joining the fourth generation of the Leon launched earlier this year.
SEAT MÓ to debut new subscription service in Barcelona
Soon after launching the SEAT MÓ brand, alongside its new micromobility solutions, the 100% electric SEAT MÓ eScooter 125 and the SEAT MÓ eKickScooter 65, it also revealed its shared-mobility subscription model in Barcelona.
The all-inclusive service will enable access to a 100% electric SEAT MÓ 125 eScooter for days, weeks or months (including maintenance, insurance, charging), without a long-term contract, from €149/month (£135). With these scooters, SEAT MÓ is also going to launch a sharing service over the coming weeks in Barcelona.