How Cupra could beat the siblings Volkswagen and Skoda in the Australian EV market: Spain’s Born electric car will soon be on the market – Tavascan and Rebel will follow
After Cupra split from Seat in 2018 to become its own independent Spanish brand, before its global expansion in Europe, Cupra began to offer a fully electric model locally.
Speaking to Australian journalists, Cupra CEO Wayne Griffiths emphasized that the emerging brand is facing challenges to deliver its models locally, including “cars that have not previously been developed for Australia,” such as the recently launched all-electric Born Small Hatchback .
“The Cupra Born will be a challenge getting this car ready, but it’s something I am committed to and my organization here is determined to do it,” he said. “Because without the cars there is no point in coming [to Australia].
“And we can’t just come with the Cupra Formentor. We have to have the Cupra electric cars – the Cupra Born, the Cupra Tavascan and the Cupra UrbanRebel – ready for Australia and ready for the future. “
As reported, Cupra will hit the Australian market in the second quarter of 2022 with the small hatchback Leon and the small SUVs Ateca and Formentor, with the former and the latter being available with three turbo gasoline engines and a plug-in hybrid (PHEV). Powertrain.
While Leon and Formentor’s PHEVs matter on their own as they are Volkswagen Group Australia’s (VGA) first hybrid models, it arguably more important how far Cupra wants to push its electrification on-site.
As a reference, the Born is closely related to the Volkswagen ID.3, which, together with its sibling, the ID.4 Mid-Size SUV, has yet to be confirmed for Australia with low priority, with VGA now hoping for a start date in 2023. Family opening the door for Cupra to be the first to get in.
Mr. Griffiths said, “Australia is more important to us than many other markets … so we are investing our resources in making the electric car a priority for Australia.
“I think the Volkswagen Group and Skoda, because they are already global and have many other markets, they probably don’t give Australia priority, but for us (it) is a high priority.”
According to Mr. Griffiths, Cupra is doing everything in its power “to find a solution for the Cupra Born”, a priority in its 2022 development budget, adding that “the issues are not about emissions or homologation”.
“The issues are related to the online connectivity of the cars and the system behind it, but there are workarounds that we are now working on in a very pragmatic way to get the cars up and running in Australia,” he said.
“The cars are safe; the cars are homologated. It’s just online connectivity that’s a job, but even if we have to go offline with the first few cars, we will. “
That said, Cupra is currently working on some specific local tests of the Born that could bring its Australian launch date forward, with Mr Griffiths hoping to get there by the end of next year or early 2023.
Mr. Griffiths added that Australia “is our first step for Cupra to go global and we need to get it up and running,” with the widespread availability of its all-electric models being a key to success.
“If we can’t make it, I’ll have a problem going elsewhere,” he said. “And as a first step in the Asia-Pacific region, we want to use this as a blueprint … with a view to Japan and Korea as the next step.”
As for the rest of the all-electric model range from Cupra to be unveiled, the aforementioned Tavascan mid-size SUV and the lightweight hatchback UrbanRebel were introduced from concepts that were shown at the 2019 Frankfurt and Munich automobiles in 2021, respectively.
The Tavascan is related to the ID.4 and should go into production in 2024, while the UrbanRebel is based on the upcoming new “short version” of the Volkswagen Group’s joint fully electric MEB platform, which is expected to be released in 2025, simply called Rebel too will.