Cupra – Griffiths: “We’re focusing more on plug-in hybrid”

On the occasion of the presentation of the plans Seat and Cupra until 2025, and news related to el-Born, we exchanged some jokes with Wayne Griffiths, vice president of Sales and Marketing of the first brand and the ceo of the second. Here’s what he told us.

Which is state for you, the effect is more heavy of a pandemic?
We had to react quickly, block the production and the sales and protect our dealers. The impact has been strong, we have managed the business but now we need to get back to work, to a new normal, reactivating the market, particularly those most affected by the pandemic, such as Spanish, French, and Italian.

The news of the day is that the el-Born, and will be launched with the brand name Cupra. Why this choice?
We launched the Cupra el-Born, which a year ago we had seen in Geneva as a concept marked Seat. Now, however, we have redesigned and revised the machine, experiences in a product that is more sporty, inside and out, adding dynamic technologies. So, I think the Cupra el-Born to have made a step forward, with the electrical performance that combine perfectly with the sportiness of the brand. I think that the launch of the el-Born as the Cupra is a right decision.

How will the portfolio of the Cupra in the next few years? We will see more Suvs and crossover vehicles, or other bodies? Maybe the dream of a coupe?
It is a nice dream. For now, we have the Cupra Leon, the Formentor, the engines plug-in hybrids, the Ateca, which was a great success. Then comes the first full-electric, el-Born. And there is also the vision more distant, and with the concept Tavascan, which is a crossover. I see our future is increasingly focused on electrification, on the plug-in hybrid. Then, we look to the segments that are growing, such as those wheels, and why we need to increase volumes. Yes, I agree with you, it would be nice to have a coupe in the range, but that segment is limited. I still think that the electrification can be at a good level even with the Suv and the crossover. When you will be at the wheel of Formentor, in a little while, you’ll understand immediately. The Formentor is really very sporty and nice to drive, with a unique design. And it is also electrified.

 

What could be the future mix of the powertrain that you have, i.e., diesel, petrol, hybrid and full electric?
We have a four cylinder powerful petrol, still very much in demand, on the Cupra Ateca and Leon. So far we’ve sold one. There is still a good market for combustion engines powerful, even to the Formentor. Now the brand is expanding its range with the diesel and, very importantly for us, with the plug-in hybrid. With the el-Born, there will be another step, thanks to full electric. We have, therefore, all that is needed and that customers will demand. How quickly we move onto the electric? I don’t know, will depend on the demand of the market, but I believe that by 2025 will be plug-in to carve out a role of first floor. Because it will be a period of transformation. And then there is another reason for the Cupra: the combination of a good combustion engine and a powerful battery motor give an extraordinary result in terms of driveability and performance. I’ve driven these cars and the work of the two engines offers many advantages, also in terms of zero emissions. In short, in the medium term will be the star of the plug-in hybrid, while in the long the drive full electric will grow in an important way.

Therefore, you are able to counteract the additional weight tied to a powertrain plug-in hybrid with a setup and a dynamic equilibrium is optimal.
As I said, I’ve driven these cars, and though weighing more, they are very sporting and they offer a nice feeling to boost level and the boost.

We will see a design more and more different between the models Seat and Cupra?
Yes, the one of Formentor is the first specific step, the next one will be that of el-Born. Then there is the concept Tavascan, which looks even further ahead.

 

Here, by the way: what are the news about the Tavascan? Will you do it?
Has not yet been confirmed, we are discussing it and we are still working on the concept. There are different proposals. Now, however, we have other priorities, such as the launch of Formentor and el-Born.

Do you have a model based on the platform of the Meb, the el-Born, and the Tavascan ski resort would be in the case, the second. But there is the possibility to see something smaller in the future, always on the electrical architecture?
The discussion, linked to the electrification in Spain, it goes on and will depend on many points of view that will mature within the Volkswagen Group. I can see the sense of having a smaller car under the el-Born, because I believe that there is a market for a car like that. Therefore, we continue to work on it. I think that electrification in the future, in urban areas, could add value to the range have a small sports car electrified. Not a cheap car, but fashionable.

What’s new about the e-Racer? Will run in a championship dedicated in 2021?
We’re still discussing with the organizers, of course, the situation of the Covid-19 has not helped. We are trying to figure out what programs can be established for the next year, and how the TCR or the ETCR might depart. And we are very involved, the drive for the ETCR is ready, but the format of the races has yet to be confirmed and the program has yet to be defined.

 

Source: Quattroruote.en – Edited by Anthon K.