Seat to stop making SUVs

Boss of Spanish manufacturer reveals plans to rapidly expand Cupra while turning Seat into a maker of electric scooters and other city-friendly vehicles...

Seat Ateca 2022 front cornering

Seat will stop making SUVs and other larger vehicles over the next few years, the boss of the brand has confirmed.

Speaking at the Munich Motor Show, Seat chairman Thomas Schafer said that the Spanish brand's role as a mainstream car maker will effectively be taken by Cupra. Schafer said that "the future of Seat is Cupra" and that the Volkswagen Group would find "a different role" for Seat.

It's expected that once it has been wound down as a mainstream car maker, Seat will instead focus on electric mobility, including e-scooters. The brand already has its own electric scooter, the Seat Mo, which has an official range of up to 87 miles. Small, city-friendly electric cars could remain an option for the brand, too.

Cupra Born front cornering

Seat's range of cars currently comprises the Ibiza and Leon hatchbacks, the Leon Estate, and the Arona, Ateca and Tarraco SUVs. The brand currently has no fully electric models – something that will be problematic as the UK comes closer to the proposed ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in 2030, with hybrids also due to be banned from 2035.

Cupra began as the performance arm of Seat, but has since become a brand in its own right. It's expected that Cupra's line-up will now rapidly expand to fill some of the niches left by its brand sibling. Cupra already has its own version of the Leon and Ateca, as well as the standalone Cupra Formentor SUV and Cupra Born electric car – which we named as the best small electric car to drive at our most recent Car of the Year Awards.

Upcoming Cupra models include the Cupra Tavascan electric SUV, the Cupra UrbanRebel small electric car and the Dark Rebel electric sports car. A third SUV based on the Audi Q3 is also expected to join the line-up, offering both petrol and plug-in hybrid options.

Cupra Tavascan front left static

It's possible that the winding down of Seat could commence as early as next year, when the current Leon is due to be facelifted. That updated model could adopt Cupra badging rather than Seat. The Ateca and Arona SUVs are due to reach the end of their lifespans in around 2025, with the Ibiza following in 2026.

What does this mean for me?

Current Seat owners need not fret, because the brand isn't going anywhere soon, and your current warranty is unlikely to be affected. It's expected that some current Seat dealers will become Cupra dealers, and will be capable of maintaining and repairing Seat models alongside Cupra cars for years to come.

Is now a good time to buy a Seat car?

It's likely that as Seat's models reach the end of their lifespans, savvy buyers could see significant discounts. Indeed, our New Car Buying service currently has Target Price savings of up to £3823 on the Ateca family SUV, £2966 on the Tarraco large SUV and £2486 on the Arona small SUV respectively. 

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